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Horde: Magnitude/Damage, Hits and Flame????

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Hello all,

So I ran my first instance with my group where we incorporated hordes of Tau units and a couple of discrepancies came up that I could not find readily satisfying answers to. Would you be most kind and help me resolve these issues?

The first is magnitude and damage. I understand how magnitude is a reflection of those units left willing to fight and that as the magnitude drops, so does the effectiveness of the horde, with the potential to outright flee. But what do I do with the damage the weapons actually cause?

Do I disregard the damage entirely and ONLY use magnitude? If that's the case than a magnitude ten horde of Tau Commanders is just as easy to kill as a magnitude ten horde of Tau Fire Warriors because one hit=one magnitude damage, plus all the other sources of magnitude damage. The wounds go right out the window.

So I tried to use magnitude as a representation of the dedication of the horde and fire effectiveness, so that had almost no effect on Tau Fire Warriors and Tau Gun Drones.

I also used health and whenever someone hit, I just went down the list as they took out unit after unit in a row of health points.

What am I supposed to really do for magnitude and damage?

Secondly, what about flamers?

One of my PCs casted Avenger, and under the Flame effect on Horde section it states that flame weapons hit 1d5 + 1/4 the range of the weapon. Avenger's range is 30, so it came out to 1d5+8 hits. He hit 11 or so times. That automatically killed the magnitude of the horde, but it also did literally over 100 damage just in constant damage alone. I didn't even roll because 11x9 with armor pen factored in meant the entire attack against the horde, who couldn't agi roll out of the area of effect, stacked so much damage they died outright from HP alone. 5 Gun Drones were not going to survive 11 or more hits from a flamer, whether by magnitude or by damage.

So how do I deal with wounds and magnitude with hordes and how do I handle flame hits and horde?

Thank you all for your participation. :D

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Magnitude replaces the Wounds track; you just have to do enough damage to overcome Armour/Toughness for a hit to inflict 1 Mag of 'damage' (or possibly more due to certain weapon properties). The amount of punishment a combatant can survive is abstractly rolled into its' units' Magnitude characteristic, so you don't have to also track any individual Wounds.

 

That applies to flamers, too: follow the formula for determining how may hits are inflicted, and roll damage for each individually. Each damage roll that exceeds Armour/Toughness inflicts 1 Mag damage on the Horde. I don't have the rulebook handy, but I think it specifies that Hordes don't have to test to see if they catch on fire (the 'official' justification being that a Horde is made up of enough individuals to quickly douse any residual flames, but the truth is that it is just a simplification to keep an already-abstract system from getting too complicated).

 

Does that make sense?

Edited by Adeptus-B

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Does anyone have any considerable experience with hordes?

Because when I read the rules, and when I had hordes in play and constantly had to reference the rules and re-read them, I got the feeling that I could really use some tables for how it's supposed to work.

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The first thing you need to know about hordes is the following:

A single point of magnitude, does not necessarily equal a single character.

 

A magnitude 30 horde of Fire Warriors may actually be only 10 characters.

On the other hand a magnitude 30 horde of Gaunts could easily be 30 of the buggers.

Then a 30 mag Horde of Rippers could be more kin to 60 or more (since they are swarms in the first place).

 

1 mag/body in every instance is just plain rediculous.

 

Magnitude is a thematic method to deliver large numbers of low quality (compared to Astartes) enemies without having to keep track of 100 individual characters. A 10 man squad of Fire Warriors could be M30 capable of making 3 shots a turn at +2D10 damage each, then later its only M29 so its nearly as tough to get rid of, but only makes 2 shots. By using the magnitude a GM can tailor and modify the enemies to suit the story he's trying to tell at the time.

 

 

The second thing to know is: You don't have to ALWAYS use magnitude.

 

Magnitude is there to help GMs represent large numbers of, what is essentially, combat fodder for space marines. In Dark Heresy a party is bound to fight on average 1-6 enemies at a time depending on power levels of the party and enemies. In Deathwatch, the kill team may end up fighting entire battalions at a time. Magnitude allows the GM to throw 100 or more enemies at the party without having to track and roleplay 100 individual characters. That being said, powerful characters, such as commanders etc. are not to be used as hordes. Sure they may attached to (or hide within) a horde but they are still their own single selves. Its also egregiously rediculous to have more than one commander in an area, if the only thing you can come up with to challenge your players is putting the most powerful units together into a horde to +1 the power and make them hard to kill - you need to talk with some other, more experienced GMs to come up with more convincing (and more difficult) challenges.

 

 

The Third thing is: Hordes are characters.

While they may be made up of many numbers of individual characters, when part of a horde they meld into one super-character. BUT, the horde can still do any of the things a normal character can do (excepting dodge or parry). They can use Defensive Fighting, Walking Fire, they can get and benefit from cover (as long as there is cover appropriate for the individuals making up the horde, and enough for them all), and any other special ability, talent, or equipment the idividuals have access to. The basic stipulation with hordes is the entire group is doing the same thing (think of a leader, demogogue, or simply group think driving their actions). The player characters are not the only characters able to use all the normal rules in the game, NPCs, even as Hordes, can as well.

 

 

The last thing is: Characters in hordes do not track their own wounds.

 

When using Hordes, you don't track all the damage you deal the horde. ONLY the number of Hits which would cause damage. This is why multiple magnitude/character in a horde is important. A frag grenade averaging 4 damage a hit on a squad of guys with 15 health each doesn't necessarily KILL all 6 or 8 guys the frag hits, but most if not all the characters in that Horde are suffering some kind of damage from fragmentation or blast which lowers their fighting ability. Hordes are more of a thematic tool than a precision one. It lets the GM paint a picture with all the things happening instead of simply being a stenographer for the other players. When using Hordes, you don't care how much damage an individual character takes, because it isn't about an individual, it's about the Horde as a whole. If the Horde breaks up and the individual characters are still around, you as the GM can give them however many remaining wounds and ammo you see fit to fit the narrative you were giving.

 

For Example:
Brother Tragh tosses his frag grenade over the barricade into the enemy squad which is a M25 Horde. Brother Tragh does 9 Magnitude damage. The GM says, "Your grenade lands in the middle of the enemy unit and explodes. You see, of the two closest to the blast, one man is obviously dead and another seriously injured. You see several others sporting fresh wounds from fragmentation and some seem shell-shocked from the blast." The horde is droped to 16 magnitude which causes their attacks to do 1d10 less damage and one fewer attack, but the players can imagine it is because the enemies are all wounded and hurt, but not necessarily all dead.

 

DO NOT EVER TELL YOUR PLAYERS HOW MUCH MAGNITUDE A HORDE HAS. In fact, don't even tell them it's a Horde. Hordes are a tool for the GM, not a calculator for min-maxing players. When confronting a number of enemies simply tell them how many guys are there and, if they ask, if any of them seem part of obvious squads. Keep all the math and figuring to yourself, don't even tell them how much damage the player's attacks have dealt, instead describe to them how powerful the attack looked. If a single shot almost put a guy into crit you can say, "The shot tore through his shoulder and rent a large wound in him, but somehow he is still standing."

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Just to add some flavor here are two examples.

 

A horde of human cultist TB 2, no armor.

 

A devastator marine fires his frag missile at the horde.  An easy hit, he does a damage check (2d10+2 with deadly shot).  He rolls a 1 and 1 doing 4 damage.  4 damage minus 2 TB is greater than 0 so he throws all those rolls out and does his magnitude damage.  Blast 5, devastating, explosive plus squad mode should be 12+1d5 magnitude.

 

A horde of genestealers TB 8 armor 6.

The devastator fires his frag missile. Rolls 6 and 4 +2 for 12.  12 minus 14 armor/TB is less than 0.  No magnitude damage.

He fires again.  This time he rolls 18+2 for 20.  20 minus 14 is greater than 0 so he does his 12+1d5 magnitude.

 

Switching to krak, the 3d10+12 pen 10 always does more than 14 so every hit will be blast 1, explosive, plus squad mode for 2+1d5 magnitude damage.

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I'm pretty sure you are supposed to roll damage for each hit, even when they are caused by weapon properties off of a single attack roll (like the Blast quality).

 

 I don't have the book in front of me to check that but ---- that would be insanely tedious.

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I'm pretty sure you are supposed to roll damage for each hit, even when they are caused by weapon properties off of a single attack roll (like the Blast quality).

This is correct.

 

Each hit against the horde should roll damage against the horde individually.

 

In the case of enemies able to soak more damage, the hits which cause no damage are averaged out with those which do to approximate their toughness and wounds soaking up more damage than a weaker foe.

 

Not as tedious as you may expect. Players in my group each purchased a pack of 10 D10s along with the horde or dice some experienced RPers have this is more than enough to pick up 12 or even 20 dice, figure the minimum amount of damage necessary to cause mag damage (you're doing this anyways), chuck them all and then count the dice meeting the minimum. Since you don't care about the total damage done, but only IF damage was done, it makes things quite simple.

Edited by herichimo

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I'm pretty sure you are supposed to roll damage for each hit, even when they are caused by weapon properties off of a single attack roll (like the Blast quality).

 

 I don't have the book in front of me to check that but ---- that would be insanely tedious.

 

It is.

But you are.

And it iiiiiiis.

God how tedious it is.

Kill me.

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Yep.  The best analogy I've seen on the boards to hordes goes something like "one ninja is a threat, 30 ninjas are cannon fodder".  You see it all the time in movies, too, where the first time an enemy of a given type makes an appearance, it's all the hero can do to defeat that lone enemy, it just refuses to die.  Fast forward 90 minutes, and there are dozens, possibly hundreds of the things swarming around, and they are cut down like blades of grass, often each one falling to a single hit.

 

A good rule of thumb is that if it has more wounds of health than your space marines are typically dishing out with a single attack action (if it takes more than one person's round of combat to kill it), it should not be in a horde, but rather be represented individually.  A horde of magnitude X will represent less of a threat to your space marines than X of said enemy, intentionally so, and as herichimo pointed out, one magnitude does not necessarily represent one enemy.  It would not be inappropriate to have a magnitude 100 (or more) horde representing 20 guys, if those were elite level enemies.

 

One thing you can do, which I am a big fan of, is give a response to queries regarding the number of enemy combatants in the form of an order of magnitude.  "a handful or two", "dozens", "scores", "hundreds", "an uncountable number" still provide the players with the information they need to make informed tactical decisions, and better represent the on the fly guesstimation they would be doing in the middle of combat.

 

The one thing I do disagree with what herichimo said is in terms of telling players whether or not it's a horde.  Players kinda need to know that, because mechanically they are handled differently (attacks can't be dodged, and though you can have the player dodge anyway and ignore the result, then the player thinks they've burned their reaction, the number of hits inflicted is drastically different, etc), and because the number one time saving thing you can do with hordes (what he indicated in terms of having them roll all hits at once, and tell you how many hits exceeded the damage threshold to cause magnitude damage) can only be done if they know there is a damage threshold, and what it is.

 

Finally, remember, hordes are a fluid concept, a representation of the actions of a great many individuals in what is meant to be a time saving manner.  There is no reason that a mag 100 horde can't break into a mag 60 and a mag 40 horde to do different things, or that if they find cover for 20 magnitude of them, it can't be a mag 20 horde in cover, and a mag 80 horde out of cover.  Similarly, if 3 mag 40 hordes (of the same type of creature and armament) all drop of mag 20, there is nothing preventing them from merging into a mag 60 horde.  It's a tool for the GM, not some sort of mind control binding these creatures to a hive mind.

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So I understand hordes and the rules pretty well now, even if I don't use them too much, but how do you guys go about representing them on a map? I use grid paper and assign a length (in meter(s)) to each square to establish scale.

 

One piece of advice I have is DON'T USE MULTIPLE LARGE HORDES!!! The amount of die you have to roll for damage is absurd and will take a while and is in general a pain in the ass.

Edited by Lord Master Igneus

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Hello all,

So I ran my first instance with my group where we incorporated hordes of Tau units and a couple of discrepancies came up that I could not find readily satisfying answers to. Would you be most kind and help me resolve these issues?

The first is magnitude and damage. I understand how magnitude is a reflection of those units left willing to fight and that as the magnitude drops, so does the effectiveness of the horde, with the potential to outright flee. But what do I do with the damage the weapons actually cause?

Do I disregard the damage entirely and ONLY use magnitude? If that's the case than a magnitude ten horde of Tau Commanders is just as easy to kill as a magnitude ten horde of Tau Fire Warriors because one hit=one magnitude damage, plus all the other sources of magnitude damage. The wounds go right out the window.

So I tried to use magnitude as a representation of the dedication of the horde and fire effectiveness, so that had almost no effect on Tau Fire Warriors and Tau Gun Drones.

I also used health and whenever someone hit, I just went down the list as they took out unit after unit in a row of health points.

What am I supposed to really do for magnitude and damage?

Secondly, what about flamers?

One of my PCs casted Avenger, and under the Flame effect on Horde section it states that flame weapons hit 1d5 + 1/4 the range of the weapon. Avenger's range is 30, so it came out to 1d5+8 hits. He hit 11 or so times. That automatically killed the magnitude of the horde, but it also did literally over 100 damage just in constant damage alone. I didn't even roll because 11x9 with armor pen factored in meant the entire attack against the horde, who couldn't agi roll out of the area of effect, stacked so much damage they died outright from HP alone. 5 Gun Drones were not going to survive 11 or more hits from a flamer, whether by magnitude or by damage.

So how do I deal with wounds and magnitude with hordes and how do I handle flame hits and horde?

Thank you all for your participation. :D

also ... psychic powers inflict damage based on psy rating, the damage in the powers description doesn't matter so avenger would do see page 361 in DW rulebook (default; as many magnitudes as PR used / if area effect +1d10)

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The Avenger power works exactly like a shot from an Adeptus Astartes heavy flamer (see page 145), with all the usual chances to hit and set targets on fire, and affecting Hordes as an Adeptus Astartes heavy flamer rather than as a psychic power normally would (see page 360).

Source

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The Avenger power works exactly like a shot from an Adeptus Astartes heavy flamer (see page 145), with all the usual chances to hit and set targets on fire, and affecting Hordes as an Adeptus Astartes heavy flamer rather than as a psychic power normally would (see page 360).

Source

 

yet, reading the rules on page 361 clearly states that against hordes all psychic powers deal damage based on power rating

"... no matter what the power may be ..."

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So I understand hordes and the rules pretty well now, even if I don't use them too much, but how do you guys go about representing them on a map?

 

I use miniatures and (mostly) 3-D terrain in my campaign (some examples here). To depict Hordes in DW, I cut out circles of cardboard (about the size of a CD), and place a number of minis on it equal to the '10s'-digit of the Horde's Magnitude. That way, the PCs can get a general idea of how big a Horde is without knowing its exact Magnitude. The Horde's melee range extends 1" from the edge of the disc for every figure on top of it. I've found this to be a good compromise between the abstraction of the Hordes mechanic and the literal-ness inherent in using minis. A cheer goes up around the table whenever a PC's attack causes a figure to be removed from the disc.

Edited by Adeptus-B

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The Avenger power works exactly like a shot from an Adeptus Astartes heavy flamer (see page 145), with all the usual chances to hit and set targets on fire, and affecting Hordes as an Adeptus Astartes heavy flamer rather than as a psychic power normally would (see page 360).

Source

 

yet, reading the rules on page 361 clearly states that against hordes all psychic powers deal damage based on power rating

"... no matter what the power may be ..."

 

 

errata > rules on page 361, and it's really clear in this case.

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Also remember that specific always  beats general.  If the specific power states that it works that way, it trumps the general rule for how psychic powers work.  That applies across the board.  It's not a contradiction, it's just that you really don't want to write the way things apply 99% of the time in *every single power*, so you put it up front, and if there is something that does not follow that rule, you call it out specifically.  The same applies to virtually all other rules.  In fact, virtually every squad mode ability allows an exception to some rule or another, whether it's the (implied) limit of one action of a given "subtype" per round, normal movement rates, limits on reactions, or whatever else.  Another fine example is the Rune Staff from First Founding.  Normally you can only use one psychic power per turn, that staff explicitly allows an exception to that rule.

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Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the help with hordes. I was trying to use very small hordes of Tau fire warriors to make fields of fire that harassed the Kill-Team as they made their climb up a hill into a Tau base. I can see now that it makes much more sense to treat each unit as an individual here. I'd want to use hordes as mass moving across the battlefield causing threat as a whole. Instead of saying, "There are ten Tau fire warriors in the bunker," I'd say, "There are about a dozen Tau fire warriors firing down upon you and Brother x takes y amount of damage from the fire." Or I'd probably use it for Tyranid and just say, "Yeah, there's a brown sea of clicking teeth and shells scraping across the ground that fill the hallway to the East. Have fun."

I was trying to handle the magnitude with precision and account for each individual in it. Thanks for helping me to understand how they work and how I can tweak the horde magnitude to give the appropriate amount of threat to groups.

Also, 

 

 

So I understand hordes and the rules pretty well now, even if I don't use them too much, but how do you guys go about representing them on a map?

 

I use miniatures and (mostly) 3-D terrain in my campaign (some examples here). To depict Hordes in DW, I cut out circles of cardboard (about the size of a CD), and place a number of minis on it equal to the '10s'-digit of the Horde's Magnitude. That way, the PCs can get a general idea of how big a Horde is without knowing its exact Magnitude. The Horde's melee range extends 1" from the edge of the disc for every figure on top of it. I've found this to be a good compromise between the abstraction of the Hordes mechanic and the literal-ness inherent in using minis. A cheer goes up around the table whenever a PC's attack causes a figure to be removed from the disc.

 

Those set pieces look flippin' amazing. I want to do something like that in the future with my group. For now, it's a table top sized piece of wrapping paper flipped over with a hand drawn grid on it and penciled in 2D landscape. I'll be upgrading to 3D terrain and structure built from cardboard sitting on a grid to give precision to the Kill-Team players as they move through structured time.

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herichimo's summary of horde combat is very good.  The only areas I would clarify or expand on would be to say that horde damage very much represents fighting ability not casualties.  When a horde flees then that represents a general rout, possibly instigated by NCO's possibly just general panic.  However note that a fleeing horde could still rally.  However large amounts of magnitude damage can also represent fleeing and a complete breakdown of morale such that rallying is almost impossible.

 

Magnitude damage can also represent wounded by still living individuals.

 

These abstract concepts are important because it means

a) The PCs may be able to capture/question enemies even when a horde's magnitude is reduced to 0.

b) Certain NPC commanders may have the ability to rally fleeing individuals and restore magnitude points to hordes.

 

Also I allow my PCs to make appropriate tactic checks to learn information about hordes, which I think makes a nice compromise between gaming the system and being completly left in the dark.

 

Finally I have noticed that a horde under 10-15 Mag probably isn't worth it. Most of my hordes are generally between 30-60. 

 

Sttating what a creature is worth in Mag. is difficult.  Humans, particularly dregs and gangers are probably 1-1 but Orks work reasonably well 2-1 (i.e 2 Mag points equals 1 Ork).  Surprisingly Dark Eldar have worked out as 3-1 (despite being considerably less tough than orks.  However these are personal values and as a GM you'll have to work them out!

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