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peterstepon

Assassins, Sisters of Battle, and Deathwatch Space Marines

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It doesn't help that Inquisitor's damage system was screwed up in numerous other ways. Amongst other things, damage scaling for 80% of the weapons in the book was completely piteous (a Lascannon rolling maximum damage can't kill an unarmoured human; an average damage hit doesn't even incapacitate them), and the damage system was far more lethal with "death by a dozen cuts" than with individual massive strikes.

 

A lascannon on maximum damage will put any hit location into Crippled/Critical status. If it's the head, it's gone. If it's a limb, it's gone. Sounds accurate. Only if it's the torso the character gets put "only" into the unconscious state, but let's be real here, I don't find this to be much worse than Dark Heresy characters tanking plasma shots with their naked faces because Toughness + Wounds.

 

The problem I have with Inquisitor in regards to damage is how it's such a massive range that relies far more on dice rolls than the weapon itself. BI/FFG did a better job here, though it's still not quite at what I would personally prefer (either a fixed damage value, or one where dice play a minor role) ... except for DW/BC Horde rules, which have the very same problem with putting too much emphasis on the dice.

 

The Deathwatch marine in Purge the Unclean had none of those. His bolt pistol dealt 2d10 damage from the first playtest version. It was intended from back when Black Industries (a division of Black Library and subsidiary of the Games Workshop Group) for the Astartes to wield weapons of a distinct standard and quality to those of 'mortals'. The idea of 'Astartes' bolt weaponry being different from everyone else's appears in several Black Library sources as well, so it's not exactly an FFG-only thing. Indeed, the bolter wielded by the Inquisitor-scale Space Marine model is bigger in every sense than every other bolter in the range - longer, wider, thicker, a bigger muzzle.

All that aside, GW approved it. From practical experience, there are plenty of things that GW won't allow, so the fundamental decision to distinguish Astartes bolters from mortal ones is an instance of the setting evolving, rather than an aberrant deviation from some idealised norm.

 

Except that the difference between 2d10 and 1d10+5 is negligible. One has a higher maximum damage, the other has a higher minimum damage. If I was allowed to choose, I'd actually pick the second just because its damage range is more reliable.

 

What appears in several Black Library sources is arguably not of much concern, as said Black Library sources claim just about anything simultaneously and have very little problem with contradicting each other or the studio fluff. They are just as valid as GW's original material, but that doesn't change the fact that this is not an "evolution" of the setting just because some freelance writers feel like they don't have to reproduce what it says in the codices. It's not a development, it's an alternate take on it. The whole idea behind GW's approach to canonicity (or the lack thereof) is that it's all equally true, and this mandates that those novels or this RPG cannot just displace GW's own material but are yet another interpretation of the 41st millennium.

 

"The absolute truth which is implied when you talk about "canonical background" will never be known"
- Marc Gascogne

 

So is it an "aberrant deviation from an idealised norm"? No. But it is a deviation from the original idea. And one that GW seems happy to continue to ignore, as far as its studio sources are concerned.

 

Marine bolters being bigger is something that was always represented in GW's original fluff as well, by the way. However, they weren't bigger because they fired larger projectiles but because - much like their power armour - they included a variety of gadgets that made the weapon safer and more efficient and larger, from automatic maintenance units to palm-print sensors to autosense-links to an armoured gun case. It stands to reason that most human derivatives seem to cut out those gadgets first rather than decreasing projectile size, except for those valuable models that employ archaeotech miniaturisation to cram the same tools into a smaller gun. In the end, calibre .75 is about equal to a shotgun slug, so the barrel and the chamber .. the core of the weapon system .. really aren't all that big. It's just all the additional stuff that bulks it up.

 

GW approves a whole lot of things as long as it doesn't go against the atmosphere of the setting or changes one of the most fundamental aspects of it. GW approved of FFG's Deathwatch not being a part of the Inquisition. GW approved of C.S. Goto's Multilaser Marines. GW approved of Devastators being the repair guys in Eternal Crusade. None of this will change what it says in their own codices. See Warzone Damnos' description of the Deathwatch for an example.

 

It's swingy - lasgun bolts can only pierce the marine's armour once in every twelve hits (for 1-2 damage each), but four of those hits will blow his brains out, in spite of the fact that you'd need sixteen damage in one hit to reach the second injury level. There's too much gap between what one hit can achieve and what many hits achieve, no ability for Astartes to "withstand wounds that would slay a mortal man" - they'll fall to the same four minor scalp wounds that anyone else does. Only where single wounds are concerned are they tougher, and the system handles single wounds really badly.

 

How does it handle single wounds badly? It's got injury locations (even more than this game), and a Space Marine's advantage is that that, yeah, he will be injured by anything that punches through his armour, but unlike a normal man he can survive many injuries more. It takes a lot of shots to kill one even though every single wound will decrease his battle efficiency. You may even end up with a python'esque "Black Knight" whose arms and legs are crippled, but who still doesn't give up, soldiering through those grievous wounds where a normal man would just drop dead, like the Blood Ravens Marine in the intro of the first Dawn of War.

 

Personally, I think this sounds both more realistic and more epic than this game's bulletproof Superman variants. Even normal humans can get to a level where auto- and lasguns lose their scare (we sure had a lot of threads about this across all boards), and as far as I'm concerned, that just sucks. It's problematic for balancing reasons, it reduces cross-game compatibility, and it limits the use of some of the setting's most memorable weapons.

 

Deathwatch basically did the same thing - a few lucky hits (righteous fury) will fell a Space Marine. What it also did was abstract a large group of foes into a single group, so that a kill-team could face down armies (a desirable concept) without spending four hours resolving a single turn (an undesirable outcome), and part of that is abstracting many attackers' damage (and their chance of righteous fury) into a single larger quantity of damage.

 

But it's not "the same thing". It's magical damage bonus. With Righteous Fury even kids throwing rocks can kill a Space Marine, and if a single lasgun is incapable of penetrating that ridiculous combination of Armour and better-than-armour-Toughness then I don't see what difference 10 or 20 could make.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating Inquisitor as the perfect system, much like I'm not saying everything about Dark Heresy etc sucks. I am saying, however, that Inquisitor's damage system is something we might be able to take a few pointers from, and maybe come up with a system that combines the best of both worlds for something better than either.

 

That a gun that is a clearly a scaled-up version of X would do more damage than X is simply logical, as the calber has increased. In fact, it's not the same gun. A .22 that has had its size doubled is not a .22, but a .44.

 

Except that even in FFG's fluff, both Civilian and Marine bolters are still described as using cal .75.

This part is actually still the same as in GW's original material.

 

As mentioned above, just because something is bigger doesn't automatically mean it's firing larger rounds.

 

What we have in Dark Heresy, Deathwatch, etc is the funny situation that a Human Heavy Bolter is described as having a larger calibre, a bigger size, and more weight than an Astartes boltgun. And still it's doing less damage, because reasons.

 

And then the Inquisitor's Handbook has the "Angelus bolter" which you can use as an ordinary human character, shooting Astartes bolts (albeit at the 2d10 PtU profile). So apparently the problem is not the weapon itself, it's that the ammunition is so illegal that nobody other than Space Marines is allowed to use it. Not even Inquisitors. :P

Edited by Lynata

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I know what FFG's fluff says, but it doesn't make sense. Marine and regular bolters are clearly not firing the same shells, because the Marine bolter is clearly larger with a clearly larger muzzle, which is what you would expect when you take a gun and scale it up.

 

If you take a knife and triple its size, it's not a knife anymore.

 

EDIT: normal humans _cannot_ get to a point at which autoguns etc. lose their scare without power armor. Max autogun damage is 13, maximum human toughness bonus in the BC/OW rules set (not counting things like Marks, bionics, and so forth) is 6. 13 - 6 = 7.

 

This has indeed been gone over in various threads, and it has been repeatedly demonstrated to you that you are wrong, yet you continue. :) Now you can go on declaring that the sky is green for as long as you want, or stop saying that humans can get to the point where autoguns cease being a threat. :)

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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I often thought of SoB's faith abilities in ffg games as something warp-related, but not psykery, a human version of the ork WAAAAGHH.

 

In case thise discussion is still relevant.

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I know what FFG's fluff says, but it doesn't make sense. Marine and regular bolters are clearly not firing the same shells, because the Marine bolter is clearly larger with a clearly larger muzzle, which is what you would expect when you take a gun and scale it up.

 

Show me where it says that Marine bolters have a larger barrel.

 

Marine guns just being scaled up 1:1 as opposed to having all those additional gizmos shown in the cross-section I linked in the previous post is your opinion, and in this case it's contradicted by both GW's original material as well as the Black Industry/FFG fluff.

 

Of course you, too, can go on declaring that "the sky is green" for as long as you want.  :rolleyes:

 

EDIT: normal humans _cannot_ get to a point at which autoguns etc. lose their scare without power armor. Max autogun damage is 13, maximum human toughness bonus in the BC/OW rules set (not counting things like Marks, bionics, and so forth) is 6. 13 - 6 = 7.

 

Aren't you forgetting something here? Like .. armour?

 

 

I often thought of SoB's faith abilities in ffg games as something warp-related, but not psykery, a human version of the ork WAAAAGHH.

 

Yeah, I think that's the best description - unless we assume that this "divine magic" is separate from the Warp, seeing as there's nothing in the rules about these abilities being affected by something else.

 

On a sidenote, in GW's version of the setting the Orks' Waaagh-field is a psychic ability, too. At least the codex describes it so. I'm not sure - how has it been described in FFG's books?

Edited by Lynata

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It doesn't help that Inquisitor's damage system was screwed up in numerous other ways. Amongst other things, damage scaling for 80% of the weapons in the book was completely piteous (a Lascannon rolling maximum damage can't kill an unarmoured human; an average damage hit doesn't even incapacitate them), and the damage system was far more lethal with "death by a dozen cuts" than with individual massive strikes.

 

A lascannon on maximum damage will put any hit location into Crippled/Critical status. If it's the head, it's gone. If it's a limb, it's gone. Sounds accurate. Only if it's the torso the character gets put "only" into the unconscious state, but let's be real here, I don't find this to be much worse than Dark Heresy characters tanking plasma shots with their naked faces because Toughness + Wounds.

This is a weapon that, in the wargame - in every version of the wargame - has been able to fell massive, superhumanly tough creatures consistently. A maximum damage roll being just about able to kill an ordinary human is far from an adequate representation.

Scaling of high-power weapons is an issue with both Inquisitor and with the 40kRPGs, but it's far, far worse in Inquisitor.

 

Except that the difference between 2d10 and 1d10+5 is negligible. One has a higher maximum damage, the other has a higher minimum damage. If I was allowed to choose, I'd actually pick the second just because its damage range is more reliable.

But there is a difference, which you're happy to gloss over because it's one that has little practical effect, when your arguments otherwise proclaim that any difference at all is unacceptable.

 

What appears in several Black Library sources is arguably not of much concern, as said Black Library sources claim just about anything simultaneously and have very little problem with contradicting each other or the studio fluff. They are just as valid as GW's original material, but that doesn't change the fact that this is not an "evolution" of the setting just because some freelance writers feel like they don't have to reproduce what it says in the codices. It's not a development, it's an alternate take on it. The whole idea behind GW's approach to canonicity (or the lack thereof) is that it's all equally true, and this mandates that those novels or this RPG cannot just displace GW's own material but are yet another interpretation of the 41st millennium.

I love the use of "freelance writer" as a way of dismissing someone's contribution. I love how it belittles the time and effort I and those like me put into works like this.

No, no individual source can displace "GW's own material"... but it isn't a matter of displacement or picking one source to be dominant. It's about inspiration - everyone forges a vision of the setting based on a particular set of sources, the books and stories they've read and preferred. Writers - be they full-time or freelance (because the difference is far, far less significant than you seem to believe, particularly as lots of writers do both - consider that lots of Black Library's writers are full-time writers for other parts of GW) are no different in that regard. Every person - contributor or not - will develop their own vision of the setting, and those contributing to the setting will start from that point when they add to it.

Thing is, 40k has been worked on by too many people over too long a period to adhere to the original form of the setting in any but the most superficial ways (considering that the original form of the setting had no Horus Heresy, no Chaos, no Aspect Warriors, and very different ideas of what Tyranids look like). The setting evolves - it evolves with every wave of new contributors, taking what they loved growing up and running with it. Every change is the result of that evolution.

GW approves a whole lot of things as long as it doesn't go against the atmosphere of the setting or changes one of the most fundamental aspects of it. GW approved of FFG's Deathwatch not being a part of the Inquisition. GW approved of C.S. Goto's Multilaser Marines. GW approved of Devastators being the repair guys in Eternal Crusade. None of this will change what it says in their own codices. See Warzone Damnos' description of the Deathwatch for an example.

Yet, those own codices change with every edition too - they're hardly an immutable core around which everything else revolves. Were that the case, we'd never see arguments about NewCrons and Ward's Grey Knights.

The setting evolves. Get over it.

 

How does it handle single wounds badly? It's got injury locations (even more than this game), and a Space Marine's advantage is that that, yeah, he will be injured by anything that punches through his armour, but unlike a normal man he can survive many injuries more. It takes a lot of shots to kill one even though every single wound will decrease his battle efficiency. You may even end up with a python'esque "Black Knight" whose arms and legs are crippled, but who still doesn't give up, soldiering through those grievous wounds where a normal man would just drop dead, like the Blood Ravens Marine in the intro of the first Dawn of War.

 

Personally, I think this sounds both more realistic and more epic than this game's bulletproof Superman variants. Even normal humans can get to a level where auto- and lasguns lose their scare (we sure had a lot of threads about this across all boards), and as far as I'm concerned, that just sucks. It's problematic for balancing reasons, it reduces cross-game compatibility, and it limits the use of some of the setting's most memorable weapons.

Four blows to the head with a thrown rock will fell basically anything. Individual, massively damaging attacks struggle to inflict meaningful, proportionate injuries. A sniper's bullet won't burst a man's skull, but punching someone in the face four times (always exactly four times) will kill them.

That's an issue - it massively overvalues the impact of an individual hit, regardless of how damaging that hit was to begin with, yet massively undervalues the effectiveness of an individual strike.

 

But it's not "the same thing". It's magical damage bonus. With Righteous Fury even kids throwing rocks can kill a Space Marine, and if a single lasgun is incapable of penetrating that ridiculous combination of Armour and better-than-armour-Toughness then I don't see what difference 10 or 20 could make.

As I've just explained, Inquisitor allowed Space Marines to be felled by thrown rocks and petulant slapping. Yet, by comparison, Inquisitor also made an armoured marine virtually impervious to las-fire and similar smallarms (1/12 chance of actually inflicting damage, less if you hit the chest, because Astartes power armour has additional unique advantages).

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating Inquisitor as the perfect system, much like I'm not saying everything about Dark Heresy etc sucks. I am saying, however, that Inquisitor's damage system is something we might be able to take a few pointers from, and maybe come up with a system that combines the best of both worlds for something better than either.

Remember the damage system for the first run of the DH2 beta? It far more closely resembled the Inquisitor damage system. That version of the rules got whined into oblivion.

Also remember that the quality of game design is primarily subjective - whether or not you like a system has virtually no bearing on whether or not it's any good. D&D4 is a perfect example of this, as is GW's Lord of the Rings battle game - really good systems, disliked for reasons quite apart from the quality of the design work. LoTR is arguably GW's best-designed system in a very long time, and some flaws aside, D&D4 was designed with far greater mathematical rigour and more durable balance than any version of D&D before or since.

And then the Inquisitor's Handbook has the "Angelus bolter" which you can use as an ordinary human character, shooting Astartes bolts (albeit at the 2d10 PtU profile). So apparently the problem is not the weapon itself, it's that the ammunition is so illegal that nobody other than Space Marines is allowed to use it. Not even Inquisitors. :P

Fun thing about the Imperium. "Illegal" means something quite different to what it means to a 21st century mindset. Astartes bolt shells - as described in the Inquisitor's Handbook - are manufactured for the Astartes under licence from the Adeptus Mechanicus. It's the result of ancient oaths and pacts that date back over a hundred centuries. These are the kinds of treaties and pacts that are held up through military force, rather than the legal system.

If you've obtained Astartes bolt shells (and a weapon capable of firing them - the calibre may be the same, but that doesn't mean that a mortal bolt weapon can fire them, as calibre is not the only meaningful measurement) then you're in breach of ancient treaties. That's the kind of thing you get shot for.

And then we get to the Inquisitorial part of it - the matter of Peers of the Imperium, a notion grown out of both Inquisitor and the RPGs that manages to both resolve and make gloriously intricate all manner of macro-scale politics in the Imperium. An Inquisitor is only as above the law as a Rogue Trader, a Cardinal, an Astartes Chapter Master, a Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus, etc, etc. The law is a matter for ordinary people, and amongst such grand personages, the questions of who you are, who you know, and what kind of force you can bring to bear are more important in determining whether or not you can do something.

Everything aside, discussions like this over the last few years have increasingly cemented my opinion that the very idea of canon is toxic to creativity. Canon is used more often than not to say "no" - to deny an idea, to exclude a concept, to prevent a development. It is a noose around the neck of inspiration, and fodder more for petty, repetitive arguments like this than for meaningful discussion.

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But there is a difference, which you're happy to gloss over because it's one that has little practical effect, when your arguments otherwise proclaim that any difference at all is unacceptable.

 

I'm glossing over it here because I don't see what value it would have to the discussion at hand.

Obviously I'd prefer if there would be no difference at all. You seem to remember that I've made that clear enough in the past.

 

I love the use of "freelance writer" as a way of dismissing someone's contribution. I love how it belittles the time and effort I and those like me put into works like this.

No, no individual source can displace "GW's own material"... but it isn't a matter of displacement or picking one source to be dominant. It's about inspiration - everyone forges a vision of the setting based on a particular set of sources, the books and stories they've read and preferred. Writers - be they full-time or freelance (because the difference is far, far less significant than you seem to believe, particularly as lots of writers do both - consider that lots of Black Library's writers are full-time writers for other parts of GW) are no different in that regard. Every person - contributor or not - will develop their own vision of the setting, and those contributing to the setting will start from that point when they add to it.

Thing is, 40k has been worked on by too many people over too long a period to adhere to the original form of the setting in any but the most superficial ways (considering that the original form of the setting had no Horus Heresy, no Chaos, no Aspect Warriors, and very different ideas of what Tyranids look like). The setting evolves - it evolves with every wave of new contributors, taking what they loved growing up and running with it. Every change is the result of that evolution.

 

I'm not honestly dismissing anyone's contribution, but what I am dismissing is the attitude you've been displaying in your previous post, as if I was somehow "wrong" for not going with the times because I cling to what it says in the codex fluff instead of adopting the interpretation of some Black Library authors and BI/FFG.

 

So yeah, that was my way of saying "right back at ya".

 

And I still disagree with the idea of the setting "evolving" when there isn't even a uniform setting to begin with. 40k lacks the consistency to evolve. What we have instead is more and more interpretations being added to whatever has already been available before a certain point.

 

Four blows to the head with a thrown rock will fell basically anything. Individual, massively damaging attacks struggle to inflict meaningful, proportionate injuries. A sniper's bullet won't burst a man's skull, but punching someone in the face four times (always exactly four times) will kill them.

That's an issue - it massively overvalues the impact of an individual hit, regardless of how damaging that hit was to begin with, yet massively undervalues the effectiveness of an individual strike.

 

A sniper's bullet won't burst a man's skull in Dark Heresy either. And where four rocks to an unarmoured head in Inquisitor will kill you (not that unrealistic imo), flak armour in DH somehow makes you entirely immune to knives.

 

Both systems have their flaws.

 

The difference is, imho, that the way Inquisitor handles injuries comes across as more realistic if you look just at the basic principle. Toughness to "gate" injuries, but never to eliminate them entirely. Actual damage of some weapons is wacky, as I've already pointed out, but to me this seems to be easier to fix than the underlying flaws in DH's system. One involves fixing a couple numbers, the other ...

 

As I've just explained, Inquisitor allowed Space Marines to be felled by thrown rocks and petulant slapping. Yet, by comparison, Inquisitor also made an armoured marine virtually impervious to las-fire and similar smallarms (1/12 chance of actually inflicting damage, less if you hit the chest, because Astartes power armour has additional unique advantages).

 

2/12, or 1/6 actually. Power armour has a rating of 10, and maximum lasgun damage is 12.

 

And you ought to decide, are we talking about an armoured or an unarmoured Marine? Because I don't really have a problem with people getting stoned to death, Marine or not. In armour, on the other hand ... (see Righteous Fury/Zealous Hatred)

 

By the way, those additional ablative armour points on the chest only protect once, as they are .. ablative.

 

These are the kinds of treaties and pacts that are held up through military force, rather than the legal system. If you've obtained Astartes bolt shells (and a weapon capable of firing them - the calibre may be the same, but that doesn't mean that a mortal bolt weapon can fire them, as calibre is not the only meaningful measurement) then you're in breach of ancient treaties. That's the kind of thing you get shot for.

 

Then the game's fluff should just say this.

 

Look, obviously I can't fault the designers and writers involved for writing the game according to their preferences. I would like for everything to tie together more, and I remain convinced that the current approach unnecessarily sabotages the idea of cross-game uniformity as well as reflection of realism (see the newest iteration of Horde rules essentially working in two different ways, based entirely on whether or not you've got an Astartes class), but it is still *their* game.

 

What I can do, however, is lend voice to my own preferences and point out when stuff just doesn't make sense. So if people are convinced that Inquisitors actually don't have that much authority after all, and that Civilian bolters ought to fire .37 calibre projectiles instead of .75 (conveniently this would make them 9mm rounds), then just spell it out in the books!

 

At least this would also provide an explanation for why an Inquisitor's Terminator armour also offers less protection than the Marine model in spite of any plating carrying itself, or why even Astartes flamers apparently burn hotter than everyone elses. Everyone except Space Marines just gets crap gear!

 

This is still a stark contradiction to what current GW codex fluff says, but at least then the game would be internally consistent. And for what it's worth, it is a better explanation than the other cop-outs that have been suggested so far.

 

Everything aside, discussions like this over the last few years have increasingly cemented my opinion that the very idea of canon is toxic to creativity. Canon is used more often than not to say "no" - to deny an idea, to exclude a concept, to prevent a development. It is a noose around the neck of inspiration, and fodder more for petty, repetitive arguments like this than for meaningful discussion.

 

It's a matter of preferences. Some people like consistency, as it enforces a sort of conformity that makes sure that each and every product adds to a greater whole instead of representing a different take on it. It stifles creativity only insofar as it discourages writers from making stuff up as they go. If there was a book set in the real world, would you as a reader not expect the author to adhere to the setting? Can't you at least agree that it is problematic if a reader expects to see one thing but receives another?

 

The very idea of a setting is a "common ground" between reader and author/s where certain constants and absolutes are established. Would you really complain about not being allowed to write as if the God-Emperor was a woman, or that the Ultramarines in your books wear red instead of blue? If not, where exactly do you draw your line, and why do you believe that your line has to apply to everyone else?

 

With Dark Heresy (and your other writing credits) and these games' deeper level of detail, you had to basically write within a "canon" as well. Was it really that bad, or are you just making an exception here because you were allowed more control due to you being one of their first writers, basically "first come first serve"?

 

In my opinion, lack of proper canon not only allows more creativity, it also allows individual authors to just disregard other peoples' work on the franchise, which is a form of disrespect all by itself. It disables the option for everyone joining together in a grand endeavour to craft a single world, and instead locks us into egocentric bubbles of whatever we prefer. I've been told by a popular Black Library author that some other writers even deliberately write things differently not because they think that it would be better, but just to actively avoid "walking in other peoples' steps". With an attitude like that, an "unwillingness to conform", why not just create an entirely new setting right away?

 

Some may call it freedom. I call it "everyone for himself". It undermines the very idea of a community as we end up lacking common ground. If you think that's an acceptable sacrifice, more power to you.

Edited by Lynata

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Note: The argument may seem to be disjointed in a couple of places - the forum limits the number of quotes I can use, so I've had to excise a few of the less-important quoted paragraphs.

And I still disagree with the idea of the setting "evolving" when there isn't even a uniform setting to begin with. 40k lacks the consistency to evolve. What we have instead is more and more interpretations being added to whatever has already been available before a certain point.

Evolution isn't a consistent thing. It's survival of the fittest - some ideas are picked up and carried forward, others are left behind to be remembered only by a few. Evolution.

 

A sniper's bullet won't burst a man's skull in Dark Heresy either. And where four rocks to an unarmoured head in Inquisitor will kill you (not that unrealistic imo), flak armour in DH somehow makes you entirely immune to knives.

In DH1, yes... but those rules are nearly a decade old now, and lessons have been learned from the flaws.

Plus, the protection provided by flak armour is pitiful. Out of context, it only looks like 1 point less than 40kRP flak, but there are different basic assumptions in 40kRP.

 

The difference is, imho, that the way Inquisitor handles injuries comes across as more realistic if you look just at the basic principle.

Here's the thing about game mechanics - they're never realistic. They're always abstractions of something infinitely more complex.

At that point, something appearing more realistic is more individual perception than anything else. Often, particularly amongst those of a more simulationist bent, complexity and realism are regarded as synonymous, but that's an irrelevant tangent here.

Mechanics that "seem" realistic doesn't necessarily produce realistic outcomes. The d20 boom was built around a system that tried to give equal mechanical representation to everything - all characters and creatures were built the same way, and there were common mechanical approaches to everything. The outcomes that could result from that consistency of approach were often far from realistic, as subsystems never designed to interact with one another came into contact.

My point is that a system that "seems" realistic is just abstracted in one particular way. Handling the matter of inflicting trauma on other creatures is difficult, because living creatures are complex, that respond to trauma in a variety of unpredictable ways. In my experience, the systems that handle it better are the ones that focus more on the story than the notion of simulating fickle reality.

 

And you ought to decide, are we talking about an armoured or an unarmoured Marine? Because I don't really have a problem with people getting stoned to death, Marine or not. In armour, on the other hand ... (see Righteous Fury/Zealous Hatred)

Both - the default Space Marine model is in full armour with his helm off.

I, personally, do have an issue with Space Marines being slain as a result of being pelted by rocks to the face - or, more specifically, by being slain outright by the exact same number of incidental blows to the head as literally everything else in the universe.

Orks, for example, are known to be able to survive decapitations for at least half an hour. Under the Inquisitor rules, they can't. Nobody can. Toughness is largely meaningless except against poisons, because the consequences of taking a hit dealing otherwise-insignificant damage far outweigh the consequences of taking a single massively-damaging hit. The idea of being "able to survive wounds that would kill mortal men" is irrelevant, because it'll never get to that point.

The rules are skewed too far in one direction. You might regard that as realistic. I regard it as a fundamentally unsatisfying game mechanic.

 

Then the game's fluff should just say this.

Firstly, I loathe the term "fluff". According to friends of mine in the GW design studio, the term is banned there for much the same reasons as I dislike it - it trivialises the background, by framing it as something to fill up space, something with minimal substance.

Secondly, whether or not a given conclusion is obvious is a subjective matter. I've never found any difficulty coming to viable conclusions from the material presented.

 

So if people are convinced that Inquisitors actually don't have that much authority after all, and that Civilian bolters ought to fire .37 calibre projectiles instead of .75 (conveniently this would make them 9mm rounds), then just spell it out in the books!

I don't think I've ever downplayed an Inquisitor's authority, personally speaking. I play up the authority of the kinds of people they deal with, because it makes for a more interesting political dynamic - all oaths and favours and shows of force. I'm in the game to tell stories, rather than to adhere slavishly to some idealised nostalgic vision of the setting at any cost.

 

At least this would also provide an explanation for why an Inquisitor's Terminator armour also offers less protection than the Marine model in spite of any plating carrying itself, or why even Astartes flamers apparently burn hotter than everyone elses. Everyone except Space Marines just gets crap gear!

Or, as I've seen stated in designer commentaries for several Space Marine codices, that Space Marines get the best stuff.

Terminator armour... it was developed for the Astartes first. Everything else is a knock-off, rather than the reproduction of an ancient and sacred design. Flamers? Well, fires don't all burn at a single uniform temperature. Different fires, in different conditions, burn hotter or cooler than others - a different fuel or a different mix of fuel to oxygen can do that. Hardly the most revolutionary of concepts.

 

It's a matter of preferences. Some people like consistency, as it enforces a sort of conformity that makes sure that each and every product adds to a greater whole instead of representing a different take on it. It stifles creativity only insofar as it discourages writers from making stuff up as they go. If there was a book set in the real world, would you as a reader not expect the author to adhere to the setting? Can't you at least agree that it is problematic if a reader expects to see one thing but receives another?

Funny thing about the real world - it's hideously inconsistent. There are events all through history that, if you presented them as fiction, would be dismissed as over-the-top or needlessly cliché.

 

The very idea of a setting is a "common ground" between reader and author/s where certain constants and absolutes are established. Would you really complain about not being allowed to write as if the God-Emperor was a woman, or that the Ultramarines in your books wear red instead of blue? If not, where exactly do you draw your line, and why do you believe that your line has to apply to everyone else?

Because it's a matter of common effort. Consistency and canon are not the same thing. Canon is a blunt implement used to force things into place or discard them entirely. Consider the absolute nightmare that Star Wars canon was for decades: every new story needed to be squeezed into the existing framework, and then convoluted explanations created to explain why X book and Y comic and Z animated short don't all line up perfectly when they were created years apart by multiple contributors.

At the moment, I'm up to my elbows helping to develop the third edition of Mutant Chronicles. It's got a legacy of previous editions, sure, but it's been out of print for about two decades, so there's nowhere near as much. We're given the freedom to change a wide range of elements of the setting... but a lot of the time, we don't. In spite of being told specifically that the RPG takes priority in matters of conflict, I'm still doing my best to research older editions of the RPG and the Warzone wargame that shares the setting, and incorporate as much as I can, adapting and adjusting where conflicts exist.

This isn't because there's some absolute law as to what is true and what isn't in the setting (a Canon policy), but rather because we're building on something people already love. It's our responsibility as much to maintain what they love, but we're not burdened by a strict list of "thou shalt not" rules of canonicity, which frees us to develop the setting in new ways and take advantage of fresh minds looking at the setting.

 

With Dark Heresy (and your other writing credits) and these games' deeper level of detail, you had to basically write within a "canon" as well. Was it really that bad, or are you just making an exception here because you were allowed more control due to you being one of their first writers, basically "first come first serve"?

No, I'm not making an exception. When I'm writing, I'll abide by whatever restrictions and requirements are asked of me - that's only professional. Doesn't mean I don't have an opinion about the notion of a Canon policy.

On numerous occasions in the work I did for FFG, ideas I had were rebuffed because GW didn't like them. Nothing major, it happens - that's why there's an approvals process. Most of the time, the end result was to "sandbox" the idea - to make it something unique to the Calixis Sector/Koronus Expanse/Jericho Reach/Spinward Front, so that it didn't disrupt anything else going on outside those settings (most annoying instance - not one I was involved in - was the branding of various ranks and structures in the Arbites introduced in the wonderful Shira Calpurnia novels as being Calixis-specific). In terms of actual background written, I more often created things that were RPG-specific rather than defining major elements. In a lot of cases, that's great - it emphasises the scale and variety of the setting. In some cases, it's an irritant because it prevents anyone from providing the definition and details that a lot of people want.

 

The problem is that you're assuming that "no canon" = "run roughshod over everyone else's work".

Honestly, I've never encountered an environment where that would be the case - you respect the premise, you grow and you develop from it. Any setting where more than one person is involved in the writing and conceptualising will evolve, because everyone has their own ideas. Too often, a Canon policy interferes with that growth and development - it defines in no uncertain terms "what is", and never allows for anything else.

The heart of the matter - there's a difference between Canon and consistency. Consistency is desirable, though not always realistic - reality isn't consistent or logical, and leaving a setting with no room for myths and legends and rumours and flawed recollection and personal bias (all the things that make inconsistency viable). Canon is a set of hard rules designed to enforce consistency, but it shouldn't need to be enforced so rigidly.

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Uhh... Nathan, thank you for explaining the "GW wanted Marine Bolters to be better" part of this. I've been waiting for someone to bring up. It's something Lynata will never ever accept, but at least it's finally out there.

And yes, she does like to use the term "Freelancer" as a pejorative.

 

BYE

Edited by H.B.M.C.

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Evolution isn't a consistent thing. It's survival of the fittest - some ideas are picked up and carried forward, others are left behind to be remembered only by a few. Evolution.

 

Arguably this depends on where you look. Whilst it may be true for the fandom insofar as certain novels seem to be a lot more popular than the TT books, the GW main studio is more consistent in its codices than people generally give them credit for, and as it seems they are quite capable of disregarding whatever ideas the fans and other authors are "picking up and carrying forward" if they don't think it fits with their own stuff. They've got their own vision of the setting, and that's what we get to see in their books.

 

Will this vision ever change? Perhaps, it has changed on some parts since its very first inception, after all, and when new writers join the studio they are likely to bring their own ideas to the table. But if you assume that they somehow feel a pressure to bow to some sort of "democratic process", then I think you should re-read their latest books.

 

Which is a good compromise, I think, because this way is it not true that we all get what we want?

 

Honestly, if GW's version of the setting would ever cave in the way you proclaim, I'd probably drop my interest in it altogether, because personally I just can't warm up to the interpretations pushed by the most popular novels. For the time being, I can at least still expect to be catered to from one source, contrary to what HBMC seems to believe.

 

In DH1, yes... but those rules are nearly a decade old now, and lessons have been learned from the flaws.

 

DH2 Sniper Rifle (p153) 1d10+4 I, Pen 3

DH2 Thug NPC (p387) with T3, 0AP, 9 Wounds: Defense 13 on Head
->
90% chance for nothing to happen at all (discounting "bonus damage" from Righteous Fury and DoS),
10% chance to "fill the target's head with a terrible ringing noise" and having a chance to inflict 1 level of Fatigue.
 
What's the difference to DH1 here? We still have the same thrice-tiered resilience of Wounds, Armour, Toughness, and so the 2nd edition will see the very same problems.
 
And yes, obviously realism - both its focus as well as how much you'd want to have in your game at all - are subjective, but you can hardly argue that the basic idea of Toughness making injuries less severe as opposed to preventing them entirely seems like a more suitable abstraction for a game about laser weapons and explosive armour-piercing projectiles?

 

Both - the default Space Marine model is in full armour with his helm off.

 

Well, in that case you have a 100% chance to cause injury with small arms fire to the head, no?

 

Orks, for example, are known to be able to survive decapitations for at least half an hour. Under the Inquisitor rules, they can't. Nobody can. Toughness is largely meaningless except against poisons, because the consequences of taking a hit dealing otherwise-insignificant damage far outweigh the consequences of taking a single massively-damaging hit. The idea of being "able to survive wounds that would kill mortal men" is irrelevant, because it'll never get to that point.

 

How is damage "otherwise insignificant" if it blows your arm off? Why does only a single "massively damaging hit" count as "wounds that would kill mortal men" but not a body riddled with dozens of bullet holes? Are you sure you're not just misinterpreting the text?

 

And on a sidenote, I can't recall seeing a rule about Orks surviving decapitation in any of BI's/FFG's 40k RPGs either...

 

Or, as I've seen stated in designer commentaries for several Space Marine codices, that Space Marines get the best stuff.

 

They do. Yet, as I've seen stated in designer commentaries and the codices themselves (including a current 6th Edition one), they're not the only ones.

 

At least as far as the main studio's vision of the setting is concerned.

 

Funny thing about the real world - it's hideously inconsistent. There are events all through history that, if you presented them as fiction, would be dismissed as over-the-top or needlessly cliché.

 

What does that have to do with how a location, technology, a culture or specific characters are described?

 

If I'm reading a book about Berlin, I expect the cops to wear German police uniforms. Not something different the writer came up with just because he thought it was cool. Again: if people want to do that, awesome. But why not create your own setting if you believe that an accurate representation of something that already exists, something you are basing your book on, is "too limiting" for your creativity? Otherwise you're just creating false expectations.

 

Common ground between the writer and the reader helps to get immersed in the setting. I don't want to see something work like this in book A and a different way in book B just because two different writers are describing the same thing, but dislike the idea of cooperating on it. I'm sure such expectations are somewhat understandable?

 

Unsurprisingly, I also disagree with the idea that Star Wars canon was a "nightmare". Yes, of course it was convoluted. This is what happens when you've got hundreds of people work on an IP over the course of several decades. It's gotten to a point where you could even call it science. Yet in the end, all it did was to require a greater effort to get everything right.

 

You still had the freedom to create your own locations and characters and more. Hell, in the past couple years they even came up with an entirely new era set a hundred years after the movies. This is not "stifling creativity", this is about making sure that everyone adds to a greater whole instead of just adding yet another personal bubble to the myriad of different interpretations of the 40k 'verse.

 

Yes, it means having to play by stricter rules, but as a reward you get the opportunity to become a part of something that is consistent and will continue to exist in many years to come, and may even be expanded upon by other writers. What do we get in 40k?

 

"Why didn't you reference X in your novel?"
"Because X sucks, and so does the guy who wrote it."

 

And that's a direct quote from a conversation between Aaron Dembski-Bowden and his Black Library editor.

 

So, yeah, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. If you dislike the concept of "being forced" to adhere to what's been established before, then you also can't expect anyone else to treat your work differently either. It's give and take.

 

It's still a matter of preferences, but I know what I'd rather work on.

Edited by Lynata

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These are the arguments that result from trying to balance gameplay, real-world physics simulation, and narrative/fluff. Sacrifices have to be made at some point. Gameplay isn't going to be that fun if combat plays like rocket tag. Real world physics are going to butt up constantly against gameplay concerns (because a lot of the things in DH just aren't that fun to do in the real world). Narrative/fluff concerns butt up against fluff based around balancing a war game with tons of units rather than an rpg with small groups of people.

 

Sacrifices have to be made by people. A bolter should feel badass and powerful. A bolter should be made distinct from other weapons by the mechanics. A bolter has to exist in a game in which combat acts as a war of attrition rather than a war of positioning, meaning it can't just instantly kill things.

 

Honestly, the big issue for trying to balance these things out is that the war of attrition for combat uses nebulous "wounds" as the supplies being depleted. In the end, nothing matters in combat more than depleting those supplies, unless the GM decides to offer an alternative win condition. The game struggles because it does some weird half measure of trying to work within the format of wound-attrition combat but also trying to make the weapons match fluff that is not based on wound-attrition combat. It needs to pick a side. Either combat should be altered to match how it's done in the fluff (while maintaining playability), or the weapons should be altered to match how combat actually works.

 

As a note, this has got me thinking about what an alternative combat system would look like. It's obviously going to have to do a lot of diverging from the typical D&D/video game deplete the enemy's HP system people are used to. Maybe something where the resources being depleted are some combination of ammunition, stamina, and armor, and the goal is to gain tactical positioning in order to get a kill shot.

 

Maybe something like ammunition as a resource that can be spent to advance on someone, tie people down, or go for a kill. Stamina would be a resource used to dodge attacks, or make advances, and armor would be a resource used to soak up attacks. The resources could act as barriers to successful attacks and players could spend them to gain positioning in the fight and set up attacks of their own.

 

I'm obviously not a combat expert, but that seems to me to be something pretty realistic, fun to play, and an alternative way of handling tactical combat. I'll try and write more about it in the houserules.

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Yeah, balance is a tricky thing, of course - and preferences will differ between individual gamers.

 

I actually think Dark Heresy, Inquisitor and similar games are already very close to what I'd consider my personal ideal ... they're just not quite there yet, and what I regard as glaring issues stands out all the more because of it. It is ironic that it actually feels more frustrating because of this proximity, but I suppose that comes from the passion generated by enjoying a product/franchise.

 

An alternative to Wounds I once considered was to change them into "Luck" - being used in much the same way, except that you lose Luck before armour comes into play, and that you (obviously) can't heal it. It would retain a greater level of survivability for PCs and important NPCs (by turning hits into misses or near-misses), whilst also maintaining a "proper" image of lethality of the weapons when a hit occurs "for real".

But I'm still not sure whether I'd actually like that more or less than the RAW.

Edited by Lynata

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In this alternative luck system was all damage critical after no luck past toughness as well?

 

I've never fleshed it out, it was just an idea that popped into mind. It wasn't even for DH at first, just something for another game where damage was mitigated by personal shields - which was an understandable game mechanic (insofar as it prevented people from dying too quickly) that just didn't really fit to the background of the setting, having me consider possible alternatives.

 

I guess it is a rather "modular" idea that could easily be inserted into DH (and related games) as-is, or be combined with an Inquisitor-style conversion for Toughness (to lessen injuries rather than possibly preventing them entirely).

 

When you start thinking about the system in this regard, there's so many paths you could take. For example, only creatures and characters with Unnatural Toughness having a Wound pool, or only them having Toughness work like it does now instead of also increasing TB. The main question is whether someone considers it a problem or not. As far as I can see, the forum does not have a majority opinion but is split roughly 50/50 ... not counting those who never voiced their thoughts about it, of course.

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Arguably this depends on where you look. Whilst it may be true for the fandom insofar as certain novels seem to be a lot more popular than the TT books, the GW main studio is more consistent in its codices than people generally give them credit for, and as it seems they are quite capable of disregarding whatever ideas the fans and other authors are "picking up and carrying forward" if they don't think it fits with their own stuff. They've got their own vision of the setting, and that's what we get to see in their books.

Sure. And as often as it results in something laudable (the revised Dark Eldar background and imagery), it can result in things like the revised Grey Knights background. But that still comes from preferences and inspiration - you can't do this kind of creative work without being inspired by something.

They're hardly infallible. Like everybody else, they're human beings with opinions, preferences, and ideas of their own.

Yet we also get a sudden shift in the tone and style of the Imperial Guard codex around the time the Gaunt's Ghosts novels were new. We get novels written by studio games designers, extending their ideas into new areas. Forge World are publishing an entire line of massive books that exist in parallel to the Horus Heresy novels.

All I'm saying is that everything influences everything else. It all goes through the same people at the end - no matter who wrote it, no matter their choice of influences or the ideas they've come up with as a result of those influences, it all goes through an approvals process run by people sat in that big building in Nottingham.

And if you're ascribing some higher standard of rigour and canonicity to the work the GW design studio produces... then you're clearly delusional. Differences between editions, between codices, and sometimes inconsistencies within individual codices, are as much responsible for the tangled web of 40k "canon" as any Black Library novels or RPG sourcebooks.

 

Will this vision ever change? Perhaps, it has changed on some parts since its very first inception, after all, and when new writers join the studio they are likely to bring their own ideas to the table. But if you assume that they somehow feel a pressure to bow to some sort of "democratic process", then I think you should re-read their latest books.

 

Which is a good compromise, I think, because this way is it not true that we all get what we want?

 

Honestly, if GW's version of the setting would ever cave in the way you proclaim, I'd probably drop my interest in it altogether, because personally I just can't warm up to the interpretations pushed by the most popular novels. For the time being, I can at least still expect to be catered to from one source, contrary to what HBMC seems to believe.

I have no idea what any of this means. Are you ascribing some form of agenda to my words? I'm talking about the natural and inherent processes involved in the kind of creative work that any background writer or games designer does - you take what inspires you, and work from there. It's pointless and worthless trying to write something that doesn't inspire you (as the excision of the Squats from the background shows). As a result, any body of work contributed to by many people over a long period of time will change and develop - evolution.

That is literally all that I am saying. If you're unable to even comprehend that, then you clearly cannot be reasoned with.

 

DH2 Sniper Rifle (p153) 1d10+4 I, Pen 3

DH2 Thug NPC (p387) with T3, 0AP, 9 Wounds: Defense 13 on Head

->

90% chance for nothing to happen at all (discounting "bonus damage" from Righteous Fury and DoS),

10% chance to "fill the target's head with a terrible ringing noise" and having a chance to inflict 1 level of Fatigue.

 

What's the difference to DH1 here? We still have the same thrice-tiered resilience of Wounds, Armour, Toughness, and so the 2nd edition will see the very same problems.

 

Well, for a start, your maths is wrong - TB3 and 9 wounds means that a 1d10+4 hit will reduce the target to 0 wounds and inflict 1+ critical damage 20% of the time, not 10%. Depending on talents, etc, that can be significantly more (a design choice I agree with, though I've never felt that the 40kRP games went far enough with it - a weapon in the hands of an expert should be more effective than the same weapon in the hands of a novice).

The Accurate trait - that you've deliberately ignored here to try and prove your point, I assume - did not grant bonus damage during the original printing of Dark Heresy. It has done since FFG obtained the game (it was added in the first errata that FFG produced), and in every edition since, and stands as an example of a "lesson learned" about how to develop the game. 3d10+4 - requiring 4 DoS (not actually as difficult as it seems) averages just over 20 damage per hit. Subtract TB3 and 9 wounds, and you're left with Critical 8, which is an instant kill. Drop one of those d10s, and you'll cause a fatal wound to the head on this hypothetical target 15% of the time (the true odds are actually slightly different, as you can replace a single damage die in an attack with your Degrees of Success, which slightly counteracts low damage rolls).

 

And yes, obviously realism - both its focus as well as how much you'd want to have in your game at all - are subjective, but you can hardly argue that the basic idea of Toughness making injuries less severe as opposed to preventing them entirely seems like a more suitable abstraction for a game about laser weapons and explosive armour-piercing projectiles?

 

Actually, I can, so long as I'm not arguing for some nebulous notion of realism.

When you get down to it, the damage system in the 40kRPs in comparative - that is, damage values don't exist in a vacuum. It is assumed from the outset that damage will be reduced by toughness to some degree, and thus it is accounted for when defining damage values. The key of this is the baseline - 1d10+3 damage vs TB3. This will always result in damage - the +3 from the attack exists to offset the reduction granted by toughness.

The rest of it comes down to definitions of injury - what an actual "wound" represents. Mechanically speaking, it's somewhat similar to hit-points in D&D - it's a buffer of "inconsequential hits, flesh wounds, and near-misses" before you get to the serious injuries (critical wounds) - in those terms, the system is more cinematic than realistic. It represents a stylised depiction of "reality", one more conducive to action than reality is. It's nowhere near as flat-out dismissive of reality as D&D's hit points (a high-level D&D character may have dozens or hundreds of hp, and suffers no detriment at any point above 0), and there are systems far more conducive to high-speed cinematic action, but it's not realistic, and for good reason - 40k is hardly a realistic setting, and it's inspired as much by myth and legend and whatever science fiction and fantasy the original creators watched and read back in the 70s and 80s as by anything else.

 

How is damage "otherwise insignificant" if it blows your arm off? Why does only a single "massively damaging hit" count as "wounds that would kill mortal men" but not a body riddled with dozens of bullet holes? Are you sure you're not just misinterpreting the text?

 

Four hits for 1 damage against an unarmoured target - literally, the least amount of damage it is possible to do on any individual hit.

Inflict 4 damage in a single hit to the head - a severely below average roll for an autogun, for example - it'll do one level of injury (stunned for d3 turns), or two levels to the most feeble and anemic of characters (Toughness 34 or less). It's the kind of damage that can be recovered with very little actual effort. Inflict 4 damage in four separate instances, it'll kill any creature in the universe that doesn't have some absurd level of natural injury.

That's broken. More to the point, it's downright insane.

 

And on a sidenote, I can't recall seeing a rule about Orks surviving decapitation in any of BI's/FFG's 40k RPGs either...

 

Don't think I didn't try. At a push, though it's not the most satisfactory of approaches, such recoveries (and Dark Eldar arranging to be resurrected by a Haemonculus) can be ways of describing burning a fate point, but I certainly considered ways to represent those elements of the setting when I was still writing for FFG.

 

They do. Yet, as I've seen stated in designer commentaries and the codices themselves (including a current 6th Edition one), they're not the only ones.

 

At least as far as the main studio's vision of the setting is concerned.

I think it'd be more accurate to state "at least as far as your interpretation of the main studio's vision of the setting is concerned". Because really, that's the most anybody in this thread can actually claim.

 

What does that have to do with how a location, technology, a culture or specific characters are described?

 

If I'm reading a book about Berlin, I expect the cops to wear German police uniforms. Not something different the writer came up with just because he thought it was cool.

 

What period in Berlin? What's the year? Because it'll change matters if you're talking about police in Berlin in the 1920s, the 1960s, or this year.

The 40k universe works on that premise, 90% of the time - that things can be significantly different subject to region, era, and a variety of other factors. It's how the majority of FFG material is presented - focussing on the specifics of one particular sector at one particular time.

 

Similarly, there's a difference between history and fiction - several of the names of the Space Marine Primarchs are basically puns, for example, and while that might have seemed like a good idea at the time, the Horus Heresy novels have shown an approach to the Primarch's names that sidesteps the issue (giving them titles and honorifics and personal names used in favour of their real name).

 

Again: if people want to do that, awesome. But why not create your own setting if you believe that an accurate representation of something that already exists, something you are basing your book on, is "too limiting" for your creativity? Otherwise you're just creating false expectations.

 

You're misunderstanding me.

Consistency is a matter of common decency. Consistency is why you work in other people's playgrounds to begin with - you value that creation, and want to expand upon it.

Canon is applying the attitude of a legal system or religious doctrine (the term 'canon' originates from the notion of which parts of biblical texts are legitimate and which aren't - that's the kind of thing that people have killed over) to the process of creativity. It forces consideration of precedence, and prizes adherence and homogeneity more than progression and development. It's the kind of attitude that leads to (and this is a real example) people complaining that the number of distinct extras appearing as background crew in Star Trek: Voyager means that the crew of Voyager is actually several times the size it should be. It's nit-picky and smug and superior, and basically only exists for the purposes of arguments - for defining that one view is correct and another is incorrect.

Canon, as a concept of "which fictional work on this subject is more legitimate" stems from discussion of Sherlock Holmes by someone studying the works, rather than the character's creator. What we have now is a character who is public domain, and can be utilised in a variety of creations that don't have to adhere to the narrowly-defined Canon - anyone who has enjoyed BBC's Sherlock, CBS's Elementary, or the Guy Richie/Robert Downey Jr movies can see the advantages of consistency and adherence to the ideas without Canon - using the ideas (often putting new twists on them, or presenting them in new ways as a kind of 'easter egg' for fans), taking inspiration from the works, and taking joy in a common appreciation for the character.

It's the same as movie or TV adaptations of another work - consider the differences between the Game of Thrones TV series and the novels they're based on. Consider the differences between Marvel's comics, and their movies. Hell, consider the way DC reboots their comic continuity every decade or so because trying to work through seventy-five years of published material while still having room to tell new stories is a nightmare of biblical proportions, or the way that Marvel's created an entirely distinct "Ultimate" continuity to use existing characters in new ways.

That kind of work exists as creativity without canon. It embraces the sources of inspiration without being chained to a legalistic "one true way".

That's my philosophy on the matter. That I tolerate canon policies when I dislike the notion of them for the purpose of work is no different from the fact that I don't drink or gamble but I spend my nights dealing Blackjack and Roulette to drunk people - everyone makes concessions for work, because the expectations are different.

 

 

 

 

 

So, yeah, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. If you dislike the concept of "being forced" to adhere to what's been established before, then you also can't expect anyone else to treat your work differently either. It's give and take.

Nice of you to assume that I'm a hypocrite. That's a wonderful thing to imply. Thanks for reminding me why these boards stopped being worth the effort years ago.

Edited by N0-1_H3r3

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All I'm saying is that everything influences everything else. It all goes through the same people at the end - no matter who wrote it, no matter their choice of influences or the ideas they've come up with as a result of those influences, it all goes through an approvals process run by people sat in that big building in Nottingham.

 

The editors aren't always the same people as the ones writing the codices. That would be pretty insane as nowadays it'd mean they would have little time to actually work on their own stuff. And that's why every so often some things get through the review process that would not have otherwise, and vice versa. Also, just because something is "allowed" doesn't necessarily mean that the designers actually will be inspired by it in the future - we'd have far fewer contradictions otherwise.

 

"If the developers and other creative folks believe a contribution by an author fits the bill and has an appeal to the audience, why not fold it back into the ‘game’ world – such as  Gaunt’s Ghosts or characters from the Gotrek and Felix series. On the other hand, if an author has a bit of a wobbly moment, there’s no pressure to feel that it has to be accepted into the worldview promulgated by the codexes and army books."

- Gav Thorpe, on his blog

 

And of course I am ascribing an agenda to your words. You're bothering sufficiently to put quite a lot of time into this debate. That means you are invested. So you have an agenda.

 

Well, for a start, your maths is wrong - TB3 and 9 wounds means that a 1d10+4 hit will reduce the target to 0 wounds and inflict 1+ critical damage 20% of the time, not 10%. Depending on talents, etc, that can be significantly more (a design choice I agree with, though I've never felt that the 40kRP games went far enough with it - a weapon in the hands of an expert should be more effective than the same weapon in the hands of a novice).

 

You are indeed correct on the percentage - for some reason I had failed at simple addition there. My apologies - although it does not change anything about the analysis. Rolling a 9 on the d10 has a chance to inflict one level of Fatigue, and the maximum of 10 for guaranteed Fatigue as well as a temporary -10 penalty to WS/BS. So, still quite far from the "head blown off" that you claimed.

 

And I am ignoring Accurate because of the great dependence on your roll and preparatory action. For starters, you need 5 DoS for the +2d10, not 4, although the +10 from the required Aim would compensate for this difference.

 

If you originally wanted to say that "a sniper's bullet will burst someone's face off IF he spends a round to aim AND rolls 5 DoS AND doesn't suck on his damage rolls", then that would have been different.

 

When you get down to it, the damage system in the 40kRPs in comparative - that is, damage values don't exist in a vacuum. It is assumed from the outset that damage will be reduced by toughness to some degree, and thus it is accounted for when defining damage values. The key of this is the baseline - 1d10+3 damage vs TB3. This will always result in damage - the +3 from the attack exists to offset the reduction granted by toughness.

The rest of it comes down to definitions of injury - what an actual "wound" represents. Mechanically speaking, it's somewhat similar to hit-points in D&D - it's a buffer of "inconsequential hits, flesh wounds, and near-misses" before you get to the serious injuries (critical wounds) - in those terms, the system is more cinematic than realistic. It represents a stylised depiction of "reality", one more conducive to action than reality is. It's nowhere near as flat-out dismissive of reality as D&D's hit points (a high-level D&D character may have dozens or hundreds of hp, and suffers no detriment at any point above 0), and there are systems far more conducive to high-speed cinematic action, but it's not realistic, and for good reason - 40k is hardly a realistic setting, and it's inspired as much by myth and legend and whatever science fiction and fantasy the original creators watched and read back in the 70s and 80s as by anything else.

 

You're forgetting about armour. The system would work nicely if the various different sources of bullet-negating resilience wouldn't stack with one another. Yet here we have three layers instead of Inquisitor's one, and a lot of people seem to have encountered problems with it in their games, as the various forums show.

 

Also, cinematic and realistic are not entirely exclusive. Getting shot in the naked face and suffering no repercussions from it isn't just unrealistic, it's also incredibly bad cinema. Unless you're playing a game about Superman, I suppose, but arguably the original creators of the setting went for a much grittier tone. Yes, even where Space Marines are concerned.

 

Four hits for 1 damage against an unarmoured target - literally, the least amount of damage it is possible to do on any individual hit.

Inflict 4 damage in a single hit to the head - a severely below average roll for an autogun, for example - it'll do one level of injury (stunned for d3 turns), or two levels to the most feeble and anemic of characters (Toughness 34 or less). It's the kind of damage that can be recovered with very little actual effort. Inflict 4 damage in four separate instances, it'll kill any creature in the universe that doesn't have some absurd level of natural injury.

That's broken. More to the point, it's downright insane.

 

It's neither broken nor insane, it's abstracted. At least it makes more sense than the magic damage bonus from Horde rules or Righteous Fury that can transform rocks into boltguns. What sort of creature you'd encounter must survive four headshots?

 

Don't think I didn't try. 

 

So there isn't. Why bring it up as criticism against a different game's injury mechanics when the very same effect is mirrored here?

 

I think it'd be more accurate to state "at least as far as your interpretation of the main studio's vision of the setting is concerned".

 

"The Sisters of Battle are exceptionally well equipped, with armour and weapons the equal of any Space Marine Chapter."
- 3E C:WH
 
"Clad in ceramite power armour, they carry an awesome array of weaponry with which to vanquish their enemies; the incredible wealth of the Ecclesiarchy ensures that they are equipped with the best wargear the Imperium has to offer."
- 6E C:SoB
 
I'm curious how you would interpret this, now. Personally, I don't think there is much room to manoeuvre here.

 

What period in Berlin? What's the year? Because it'll change matters if you're talking about police in Berlin in the 1920s, the 1960s, or this year.

The 40k universe works on that premise, 90% of the time - that things can be significantly different subject to region, era, and a variety of other factors. It's how the majority of FFG material is presented - focussing on the specifics of one particular sector at one particular time.

 

We were talking about canon. Era- or location-specific differences are not necessarily a contradiction, and thus not a problem for canonicity - as you yourself have just pointed out. The issue is the expectation that emanates from very specific information, and the confusion that results from it conflicting with other very specific information.

 

I thought I had made that clear in a previous discussion we had, but maybe you've forgotten.

 

You're misunderstanding me.

Consistency is a matter of common decency. Consistency is why you work in other people's playgrounds to begin with - you value that creation, and want to expand upon it.

Canon is applying the attitude of a legal system or religious doctrine (the term 'canon' originates from the notion of which parts of biblical texts are legitimate and which aren't - that's the kind of thing that people have killed over) to the process of creativity. It forces consideration of precedence, and prizes adherence and homogeneity more than progression and development.

 

I disagree. I fail to see a difference between "valuing other people's creation" or limiting yourself to "expanding upon it" and "considering precedences and adhering" to what already exists. The last sentence in your quote sounds pretty condescending to writers who work on a franchise that does utilise a canon, too.

 

How are "progression and development" hindered merely by having to adhere to, say, the looks of Berlin and its people, to go back to that example? Just because you're officially discouraged from possibly changing *anything* you want, as opposed to merely expanding upon it within the confines of that playground?

 

Of course, ultimately it depends on what exactly you want to develop - but if it's a story, I would merely regard making sure it "fits in" as an additional challenge. If it's a setting, then the entire point is moot because you are creating your own canon.

 

Is it really just the chain that bothers you? Quite some time ago, you made it clear that in your work for FFG you disregarded the original size of the Storm Trooper regiment because you didn't like those numbers and thought they were too limiting for what you wanted to do with them. How is that consistent, or valuing that creation?

 

Nice of you to assume that I'm a hypocrite. That's a wonderful thing to imply. Thanks for reminding me why these boards stopped being worth the effort years ago.

 

I was merely confused by your apparent lack of interest in a lasting, consistent setting - a canon. Leaving my personal mark on a setting like 40k is something that I'd consider quite an achievement. However, the way it currently works, this isn't possible, and you are defending this approach.

 

Ultimately, all the writers that are undermining the works of those that came before them are just as likely to get undermined by those that will come after them. If this is your glorious evolution, I think it's a bit sad, and a waste of potential.

 

 

And please, you don't see me calling you out on all the things you are implying I am, do you? These debates are as frustrating for me as they are for you.

 

I don't even see why we can't just agree on all the background being equally valid, as explained by the people in charge. Why is it so hard for us to "get over it", as ThenDoctor put it? Do we not already have a compromise? What exactly is our problem here?

Edited by Lynata

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You are indeed correct on the percentage - for some reason I had failed at simple addition there. My apologies - although it does not change anything about the analysis. Rolling a 9 on the d10 has a chance to inflict one level of Fatigue, and the maximum of 10 for guaranteed Fatigue as well as a temporary -10 penalty to WS/BS. So, still quite far from the "head blown off" that you claimed.

 

And I am ignoring Accurate because of the great dependence on your roll and preparatory action. For starters, you need 5 DoS for the +2d10, not 4, although the +10 from the required Aim would compensate for this difference.

 

If you originally wanted to say that "a sniper's bullet will burst someone's face off IF he spends a round to aim AND rolls 5 DoS AND doesn't suck on his damage rolls", then that would have been different.

Fundamentally, the accurate quality is the distinction between a "sniper's bullet" and "anyone else's bullet". Preparation is what distinguishes a sniper from a guy with a gun.

 

You're forgetting about armour. The system would work nicely if the various different sources of bullet-negating resilience wouldn't stack with one another. Yet here we have three layers instead of Inquisitor's one, and a lot of people seem to have encountered problems with it in their games, as the various forums show.

I'm not, actually. I didn't mention it, but I'm not overlooking it.

Armour in RPGs is a tricky matter - all too often, in a variety of systems, if armour is the only source of protection from harm, then lighter armours frequently don't provide enough protection to be worth the investment of character resources. Approaches like D&D using armour to make you harder to meaningfully hit (the "meaningfully" part is the important bit - wearing plate doesn't make you harder to hit in D&D, it makes you harder to inflict a significant hit that inflicts damage - a subtle conceptual difference) sidestep the issue.

A similar distinction can be seen in the difference between two of GW's wargames - Warhammer Fantasy and Lord of the Rings - in how they handle armour. WFB gives a d6 saving throw, modified by the attack's strength, while LoTR increases the target's Defence by one or more. Light armour in WFB is a 1-in-6 chance to ignore a wound at best, which is commonly meaningless in practice. Light armour in LoTR makes the model harder to harm in the first place, so any increase is meaningful (because attacks don't particularly increase in strength - most attacks are strength 2 or 3 against defence scores of 5 or better - 5s and 6s to wound are most common).

WFRP 1st edition had a fairly narrow range of armour values - even full plate only gave 3 points across everything, though this was partly because damage was Str+d6, rather than +d10, but having it as a bonus on top of toughness means that a single point of armour is a meaningful difference - all armour is beneficial, rather than providing a fairly superficial level of protection.

Back to 40kRP - the Flak and Mesh used by the Imperium and the Eldar (a frequently-overcome 5+ save in the wargame, almost worthless in practice) suddenly makes a worthwhile difference in a character's survivability - something that can't be said for their representation in Inquisitor.

Yes, it can result in a fair degree of "bulletproof" when you match high toughness characters with heavy armour. I don't regard this as problematic conceptually.

Wounds... well, that all comes down to perception again. The oft-stated "getting shot in the face and nothing happening" is a fallacy presented time and again, that often works on the basic assumption that every "shot to the face" is akin to popping a balloon filled with blood, that there are no near-misses, no grazes, and no flesh wounds.

That the 40kRPGs assume that the first couple of hits a character suffers are superficial cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries is a design choice - the game is meant to work that way. It is an intentional function of the game's design.

Also, cinematic and realistic are not entirely exclusive. Getting shot in the naked face and suffering no repercussions from it isn't just unrealistic, it's also incredibly bad cinema. Unless you're playing a game about Superman, I suppose, but arguably the original creators of the setting went for a much grittier tone. Yes, even where Space Marines are concerned.

Thing is, "getting shot in the naked face" in Inquistor doesn't actually do all that much either - a single hit - even rolling maximum damage - from an autogun to an unarmoured Space Marine's head will knock him down for 10-30 seconds, and that's it (yet four hits for minimum damage will kill him)

It's hardly realistic one way or another.

 

It's neither broken nor insane, it's abstracted. At least it makes more sense than the magic damage bonus from Horde rules or Righteous Fury that can transform rocks into boltguns. What sort of creature you'd encounter must survive four headshots?

This isn't "four headshots" this is "being slapped repeatedly in the face". Four hits for one damage - the absolute minimum needed to kill a character in Inquisitor - is basically insignificant in every other way, except for the fact it came from four separate attacks.

The system weights the significance of individual hits far more than it does the damage those hits cause. I regard that as fundamentally flawed. You might as well ignore the actual damage values of the weapons and just track the number of hits inflicted - it would have much the same end result, at least with regards to location damage.

Both damage systems start to strain when subjected to Space Marines. The problem I see is that the Inquisitor system doesn't handle ordinary people particularly well either - outside of location damage, actually killing someone is virtually impossible in Inquisitor (they're more likely to go into shock first, one of the few truly realistic elements of the game, though one that is hardly heroic).

 

The term realistic is a misnomer here anyway. All RPGs are inherently unrealistic. What people commonly mean - in a gaming context - when they talk about 'realism' is verisimilitude. They want something that lines up with their perceptions of reality... but as numerous discussions and a whole chunk of TV Tropes can demonstrate, what humans perceive to be realistic and what is actually realistic are two very different things. The modern world is full of people dismissing real things because they don't 'seem' realistic.

So there isn't. Why bring it up as criticism against a different game's injury mechanics when the very same effect is mirrored here?

I'm not arguing that the 40kRP system isn't flawed. There isn't a perfect system out there. That's why I play many different systems. It's why I keep designing and developing games.

Yes, I hold games to a high standard. That Inquisitor doesn't properly evoke and represent various aspects of the setting it's written for is a flaw. That similar, and different, flaws exist in the 40kRPs doesn't detract from the fact that the flaws exist, it simply means that someone is yet to come up with a system that doesn't have those particular flaws.

 

"The Sisters of Battle are exceptionally well equipped, with armour and weapons the equal of any Space Marine Chapter."

- 3E C:WH

 

"Clad in ceramite power armour, they carry an awesome array of weaponry with which to vanquish their enemies; the incredible wealth of the Ecclesiarchy ensures that they are equipped with the best wargear the Imperium has to offer."

- 6E C:SoB

 

I'm curious how you would interpret this, now. Personally, I don't think there is much room to manoeuvre here.

I was speaking in more general terms - you can read off the page, but you can't know the designer's intent, because you're not them.

 

We were talking about canon. Era- or location-specific differences are not necessarily a contradiction, and thus not a problem for canonicity - as you yourself have just pointed out. The issue is the expectation that emanates from very specific information, and the confusion that results from it conflicting with other very specific information.

You're right, the issue is the expectation. Thing is, when you're dealing with fiction, sometimes you get a better idea. Sometimes you need to go back and change things.

Unrelated example: the Marvel universe has a 'sliding continuity' - in spite of decades of publication, the characters are not as old as they should be; Peter Parker was fifteen in 1962. Reed Richards met Ben Grimm during the Korean War. Tony Stark was injured and captured in Korea. Steve Rogers was only in ice for a couple of decades, and most of the people he knew during the war were still around.

None of that is now true - Peter Parker can't have been a teenager in the 60s, because he's in his late 20s now. Reed Richards and Ben Grimm aren't old enough to have been in Korea in the 50s. Tony Stark was injured in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Events still happened, but the context they happened in is different. There's a story being published at the moment, a recounting of Spider-Man's origins. The context is different - mobile phones and the internet are a presence in the story, when they wouldn't have been back when the character was created.

The Marvel universe is continually being retconned - every three years of published work is a year of time that passes in the universe, dragging along the "origin" point to keep the characters young and relevant. And that says nothing about the events that fundamentally can't happen in sequence - stories featuring the same characters, but where the chain of events cannot happen the way depicted.

Back to 40k - the setting has changed. Irrevocably. Significantly. Rail all you like against the status quo in favour of what you read in a book published in the tail end of the last century... but the problem as much as anything is that different people - games designers included - have different ideas as to what the setting should look like. Orks got bigger, Space Marines went from convicts to honourable space knights, Eldar gained the Aspects and the Craftworlds and stopped using Land Raiders. The Rhino went from the most common vehicle in the Imperium (back when it was literally the only vehicle model GW produced) to something reserved for only a handful of elite organisations. Necrons gained a personality. Grey Knights changed and changed and changed again - every iteration is different in some way. The methods of recruitment for the Imperial Guard have changed a few times. The Sisters of Battle have been expanded upon and developed massively from their origins. The Horus Heresy exists, Chaos is a part of the setting.

The idea that the setting would be better served with a strict canon policy is, IMO, laughable - while we might have avoided some of the problems that have cropped up, we'd also have missed out on valuable developments that do actively contradict prior works.

I disagree. I fail to see a difference between "valuing other people's creation" or limiting yourself to "expanding upon it" and "considering precedences and adhering" to what already exists. The last sentence in your quote sounds pretty condescending to writers who work on a franchise that does utilise a canon, too.

Well, I've explained it as well as I'm willing to devote the effort to. If you don't understand, then I can't force you to understand.

Continued in next post - too many quote blocks...

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Is it really just the chain that bothers you? Quite some time ago, you made it clear that in your work for FFG you disregarded the original size of the Storm Trooper regiment because you didn't like those numbers and thought they were too limiting for what you wanted to do with them. How is that consistent, or valuing that creation?

Actually, the discussion of the Storm Trooper regiment in the original Imperial Guard codex is contradicted by its own source. I chose to follow the line of "an extremely large regiment" rather than the contradictory "ten thousand warriors" (because ten thousand men isn't even a slightly large regiment, using the definition for regiment given in the same book).

Thing is, when it comes to actual facts and figures, the 40k universe is dreadful. Look at planetary populations in any source - they're pitifully small given how big an actual planet is. Or the armour thickness of a Land Raider, that makes the toughest armoured vehicle in the Imperium less resilient than a modern Main Battle Tank. Or the density of a Luna Class Cruiser being less than that of styrofoam. It runs with writers having no sense of scale - space is too big for anyone to have a decent grasp on how big it is, which means that specific numbers in any sci-fi setting are basically wrong.

To draw on my own experiences - when I was writing up the details of the Ork vessel "Da Wurldbreaka" for Edge of the Abyss, I scaled up the sizes from the details on the Luna (even knowing that they're flawed), increasing the length and width linearly and the displacement mass exponentially. I had to reduce the listed mass further, because I was told that the value I'd given was "too big". If anything, the value wasn't big enough - it could comfortably have been a couple of orders of magnitude bigger without seeming implausible if you actually did the maths.

It's an example of part of why I find a Canon policy distasteful - it etches in stone things that may be mistakes, making it harder to correct those mistakes.

I was merely confused by your apparent lack of interest in a lasting, consistent setting - a canon. Leaving my personal mark on a setting like 40k is something that I'd consider quite an achievement. However, the way it currently works, this isn't possible, and you are defending this approach.

Ultimately, all the writers that are undermining the works of those that came before them are just as likely to get undermined by those that will come after them. If this is your glorious evolution, I think it's a bit sad, and a waste of potential.

Honestly, as proud as I am of the work I did on the 40kRPGs... I don't regard it as having 'made a mark'. My most significant contributions were rules, not background.

I also don't regard "canon" as synonymous with "lasting, consistent setting". I regard it as a way to "rules lawyer" with the background, a way for people to try and win arguments over the internet. You can have consistency with a setting without canon. It's even easier with an RPG - any individual group's game is already a distinct take on that setting, so the difference between "canon" and "non-canon" is basically irrelevant as soon as the game hits the table.

And please, you don't see me calling you out on all the things you are implying I am, do you? These debates are as frustrating for me as they are for you.

I don't even see why we can't just agree on all the background being equally valid, as explained by the people in charge. Why is it so hard for us to "get over it", as ThenDoctor put it? Do we not already have a compromise? What exactly is our problem here?

I will admit that I've gotten out of hand here. Honestly, I find your particular approach and the way you present yourself on this board to be continually and unavoidably irritating.

To try and spare us all from this in future, I'll be adding you to my ignore list (honestly, I come here so infrequently that I'd not noticed that there was an ignore list until now). I can't see another way around it.

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To try and spare us all from this in future, I'll be adding you to my ignore list (honestly, I come here so infrequently that I'd not noticed that there was an ignore list until now). I can't see another way around it.

 

You'll probably never read this, but I still wanted to express a mixture of gratitude and sadness. It is probably for the best, as we just cannot seem to see eye to  eye on this topic, and there are things both of us will obviously never agree on, or even recognise as valid arguments from one another. Better to have it end this way than one of us driving the other away entirely.

 

 

And on a general note to everyone else I also wish to clarify that I do not perceive GW's Inquisitor as the universally better system, just like I don't perceive FFG's games as "all bad" - as my signature might already hint at. As I expressed earlier, my wish would have been for a merger of the best parts from both games, which in case of Inquisitor means the basic injury mechanics as well as the unified armoury (albeit with DH-style damage values) and lack of divine magic for Tech-Priests and other religious folks. I had hoped that DH2 would depart from the thrice-tiered resilience of the previous games, but I suppose its creators just did not agree that it posed a problem.

 

Yeah, I guess that's all, then. :)

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