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Flamers - Overpowered?

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@Fgdsfg

 

Good point about the Lex Imperialis.  As you state it wildly depends on the person(s) involved (Inquisitor care level and exactly who is killed as part of the collateral damage).  I still wouldn't completely throw it out as an option though, even then I would make it a last resort type option.

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 For what it's worth, the Pyromancer in my group can use Flame Breath (a stronger Flamer) at Psy Rating*20 metres. His Psy Rating is 8.  Aaaaah.

 

Pushing that to over 250 metres - at that point, why even bother rolling to see if the enemies can Dodge? I mean oh by gods, that's just.. full-on incineration of an entire hallway, or engulfing a full street.

 

It's engulfing half a city because the end of the cone would be something like 400+ meters wide. 

 

Am I doing my trigonometry wrong if I get something like a 140 meter diameter at the end of the 250 meter cone? 

Still enough to murder everything in the area, though.

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For what it's worth, the Pyromancer in my group can use Flame Breath (a stronger Flamer) at Psy Rating*20 metres. His Psy Rating is 8.  Aaaaah.

 

Pushing that to over 250 metres - at that point, why even bother rolling to see if the enemies can Dodge? I mean oh by gods, that's just.. full-on incineration of an entire hallway, or engulfing a full street.

 

It's engulfing half a city because the end of the cone would be something like 400+ meters wide.

Am I doing my trigonometry wrong if I get something like a 140 meter diameter at the end of the 250 meter cone? 

Still enough to murder everything in the area, though.

I was thinking the same thing, actually, but I didn't mention it because I didn't feel like doing the math, but yes, I cannot see how a 30 degree cone (I think it's 30 degrees, right?) can become wider than it is long.

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 For what it's worth, the Pyromancer in my group can use Flame Breath (a stronger Flamer) at Psy Rating*20 metres. His Psy Rating is 8.  Aaaaah.

 

Pushing that to over 250 metres - at that point, why even bother rolling to see if the enemies can Dodge? I mean oh by gods, that's just.. full-on incineration of an entire hallway, or engulfing a full street.

 

It's engulfing half a city because the end of the cone would be something like 400+ meters wide. 

 

Am I doing my trigonometry wrong if I get something like a 140 meter diameter at the end of the 250 meter cone? 

Still enough to murder everything in the area, though.

 

Yeah, that was a long time ago when I last did trigonometry  :D .

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@Fgdsfg

 

Good point about the Lex Imperialis.  As you state it wildly depends on the person(s) involved (Inquisitor care level and exactly who is killed as part of the collateral damage).  I still wouldn't completely throw it out as an option though, even then I would make it a last resort type option.

 

Absolutely not. A psyker that indiscriminately kills real humans could easily come under the suspicon of heresy.

On fun thing that might be doable is to have another Inquisitor, Inquisitor's retinue, or the Acolytes of another Inquisitor hear about this, or launch an investigation. After all, Acolytes usually don't advertise their presence, and a large amount of what they do may very well be, if not completely then at least partly, unsanctioned.

So a psyker running amok somewhere could cause ripples that upset the status quo and eventually makes another Inquisitor launch an investigation into the matter, without even realizing that the cause of these things is another Cell.

Hell, it could be hilarious if the acolyte's "home base" (if they have one) is suddenly raided by another group of undercover acolytes expecting to bust a terrorist cell of heretics.

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I think "bloody huge tsunami of fire" is sufficient; the exact dimensions don't really matter once you reach that scale... but yes, a 30 degree arc should be about half its length in width.

 

Witnessing Unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation is a crime - but the sanctioning bit is associated with the psyker, not the individual manifestation. I'd like to think that an Inquisitorial Psyker will be a sanctionate (I'd hope so, anyway), so that's permissible.

 

More important is that, as you say, there are concerns about where you use your abilities. They are agents of the inquisition. They are not inquisitors themselves. A planetary governor who gets sick of pyromaniac terrorists operating within his domain is well within his right to have the annoying little squits quietly shot in the head. Yes, a politely worded letter of apology to their employer after the fact (or even before it) might be appropriate, but they're still dead.

 

Leads to an interesting situation if the apology letter arrives before the kill-team....

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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I think "bloody huge tsunami of fire" is sufficient; the exact dimensions don't really matter once you reach that scale... but yes, a 30 degree arc should be about half its length in width.

 

Witnessing Unsanctioned Psychic Manifestation is a crime - but the sanctioning bit is associated with the psyker, not the individual manifestation. I'd like to think that an Inquisitorial Psyker will be a sanctionate (I'd hope so, anyway), so that's permissible.

 

More important is that, as you say, there are concerns about where you use your abilities. They are agents of the inquisition. They are not inquisitors themselves. A planetary governor who gets sick of pyromaniac terrorists operating within his domain is well within his right to have the annoying little squits quietly shot in the head. Yes, a politely worded letter of apology to their employer after the fact (or even before it) might be appropriate, but they're still dead.

 

Leads to an interesting situation if the apology letter arrives before the kill-team....

 

I'm picturing a call from the Interrogator.

 

*vox-line rings*

 

Agent: "Parkour Dry-Cleaning and Forest Rescue, Harlon speaking, how may I help you today?"

Interrogator: "Agent 42?"

Agent 42: "Present. How may I assist you today, Sire?"

Interrogator: "Are all Agents accounted for?"

Agent 42: *looks around* "We're all here, yes. Might I inquire as to why you're asking?"

Interrogator: "There was a missive from the Office of the Gunmetal Magistrate. You should probably evacuate. I expect your report in the morning, I'll see you in the secondary office of the Arbites, Section C, Floor 97."

Agent 42: "Report regarding what, Sire?"

Agent 42: "....Sire?"

Agent 42: "..."

Agent 71: "Hey! Why'd the lights go out?!"

Edited by Fgdsfg

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On fun thing that might be doable is to have another Inquisitor, Inquisitor's retinue, or the Acolytes of another Inquisitor hear about this, or launch an investigation. After all, Acolytes usually don't advertise their presence, and a large amount of what they do may very well be, if not completely then at least partly, unsanctioned.

 

 

This sounds like a really fun idea for a story.  I don't have an insane pyromaniac Psyker to work with, but I'm sure I could find a reason to have another Inquisitor launch an investigation against them.

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 For what it's worth, the Pyromancer in my group can use Flame Breath (a stronger Flamer) at Psy Rating*20 metres. His Psy Rating is 8.  Aaaaah.

 

Pushing that to over 250 metres - at that point, why even bother rolling to see if the enemies can Dodge? I mean oh by gods, that's just.. full-on incineration of an entire hallway, or engulfing a full street.

 

It's engulfing half a city because the end of the cone would be something like 400+ meters wide. 

 

Am I doing my trigonometry wrong if I get something like a 140 meter diameter at the end of the 250 meter cone? 

Still enough to murder everything in the area, though.

 

It makes me weep all the same :(

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I should start doing this. But I know that if I did, the story or quest would hit a full stop fast. My players aren't.. well.. uhm...

I ran the Core Rulebook adventure in Black Crusade, and they finally finished it just yesterday.

They decided to bomb it from orbit out of spite, before leaving.

So.. I guess Elika the Seer won't be returning anytime soon.

Not even once have they ever tried to take someone alive. Not a single attempt at interrogation. Not a single pat-down to see if the enemies have anything of narrative value. Nothing. Boom, headshot, wirrrrrr bisection, fwooosh, barbeque

 

If this doesn't bother you, and it doesn't bother your players, then I'd say game on. If you are getting frustrated by this behaviour, I'd bring it up. Something like "I'm thinking about changing the tone of the game to a more inquisitive notion, what do you think" could work.

 

If you want to impose the inquisitive work without asking the players opinion, then I'd say game on too (after all, it's your game, you're investing the time and effort in creating something, so you should be able to do what you want to do). Of course, this means that the players have to cooperate, which they aren't doing at the moment.

 

The solution to this problem is to imagine the consequences. Say they need to investigate a missing member of the Ecclesiarchy. They track down the kidnappers who have vital information on his current whereabouts. If they torch the cultists responsible, you could provide the players with other clues that won't burn (say dataslate with list of contacts, a strange statue that has been brought in from out system, ...) which will allow them to continue the investigation. However, if you want to be a bit more harsh, you could say:

 

 "Congratulations, you've wiped out the cultists, but still have no idea about the whereabouts of the archcardinal. With a sense of trepidation you report to your inquisitor that you have failed. Your master congratulates you with the extinction of the cult and tells you the Ecclesiarchy will have to continue this on their own. A few days later, you are called in again. Your master is pacing the room. You've never seen him this nervous. When he sees you, he beckons you to come closer and starts briefing you about your next mission. On hive world Destria a rebellion has broken out. It appears a member of the ecclesiarchy, an archcardinal no less, has been mobilising the masses to end the rule of the planetary governor. You are to investigate and take out the threat."

 

All I'm saying is that every investigation that hits a dead end is a victory for the enemy. A victory for the enemy should lead to more trouble for the Imperium. Direct your acolytes to the newly created trouble and make it a costly adventure. Make them wish that they had found the cardinal (by playing more sublte) before the heretics could have vatgrown a clone that would cause mass rebellion. Also, the suggestion of Kaic, to introduce a mad inquisitor is definitely a good one. That whole text up there about the dismissive inquisitor is quite unrealistic :)

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Oh, I have no problem with their behaviour at all, it was mostly intended as a funny anecdote on how experiences vary. I always try to make them see the consequences of their actions and there will be some due to this. I haven't thought of what, yet, but there will be. :D

 

It would be a bit different if it was a Dark Heresy game, but exploding things from orbit in a Black Crusade game is entirely appropriate, although with no less effects.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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Most of the replies to the OP have been dedicated to gimicks that neuter flamers; my opinion is that being limited to an extremely  finite set of gimicks to challenge players (not to mention the violation of logic of every encounter from now on being optimized to counter one specific weapon) is an unfun situation. I've brought this up in the DH1 Forum about 'broken' equipment from later supplements, with the advice that GMs simply alter or ban problem stuff, rather than allowing it to eliminate the viability of a huge swath future challenges.

 

For example, when the 'stacking' armours from Book of Judgement render PCs flat-out immune to damage from 90% of opponents, the GM can either A) house-rule that armour values can't stack in their campaign, or B) resign themselves to only being able to use 10% of available adversaries from then on. I choose A.

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the advice that GMs simply alter or ban problem stuff, rather than allowing it to eliminate the viability of a huge swath future challenges.

 

 

I can agree to altering stats of equipment, talents or traits. However, banning stuff is in my opinion far less interesting. Imagine you ban flamers from the game. That would be a huge hit to the game. Can you imagine Adepta Sororitas without promethium gushing flamethrowers, cleansing each and every heretic before them with holy fire? Some things are 40k and you can't ban them. 

 

The stuff that can be banned are unique things like artefacts, archeotech, certain psychic powers (but not psychic powers as a whole). Although a powerplayer might miss these, the absence of the Bloody Gauntlet of Fiery Doom that gives players two free attacks, won't be harmful to the setting.

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I was thinking the same thing; altering or removing a rule such as declaring "Armour does not stack" is a long way from saying "Flamers do not exist".

 

I think removing flamers is an unreasonable way to deal with it - but so is, of course, altering every encounter just to deal with flamers.

 

I see no easy fix to the power of flamers, myself.

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In anything but the most extremely rural of environments, you would have to go out of your way to engineer situations that would counter a flamer.

So are flamers actually overpowered, or am I just missing something? I appreciate that they're arguably *meant* to be overpowered, but I feel that this is a situation where the overpoweredness is overdone; it's just not balanced.

 

The only solutions I can think of is some incredibly contrived flanking, or endless long ranged sniping encounters. Alternatively, I could perhaps have their inquisitor order them to cut future civilian casualties to zero... which would help, but not suffice on its own.

 

 

 

I think removing flamers is an unreasonable way to deal with it - but so is, of course, altering every encounter just to deal with flamers.

 

 

We've established that flamers are very powerful, but I'm not sure I can follow you with "altering every encounter". In my games there are lots of encounters where flamers aren't that handy and I don't get the feeling that I'm altering every single encounter to avoid a flamerfest

 

*Since the range of the flamer is only 20 meters, it's not a question of endless long ranged sniping encounters. My combats frequently take place in larger rooms/hallways/manufactora/the open road/the wilderness. In fact, the encounters that take place in a small and straight hallway are limited.

*Think about height. Even if the player has a 30° cone, that means that at 20 meters (assuming a horizontally leveled flamer), he still only reaches 3,5 metres up. 

*Spreading out isn't all that impossible. At it's maximum a flamer's cone is 7 metres wide. With the Imperium's bombastic architecture, you will be hardpressed to find hallways that are smaller than those 7 metres.

*Although you have a point that the flamer makes it hard to come into melee reach, melee combatants should pose a problem for the flamer carrying character.

*Having a fight in the middle of a hive with hundreds of Imperial citizens surrounding them (or at the governor's palace at a masked ball), might make it less opportune to unleash the fire. 

*I last ran a fight with vehicles. Besides the obvious advantage of putting a bit more range in the combat, this could also deliver extra cover for the adversaries to hide from the flames.

*Having attackers sneak up on your pc's, might just give them a shot at avoid being burned alive at once.

*Make sure that the other acolytes are mingled with the enemy. If he starts unleashing the fury, he might have some explaining to do afterwards.

 

These are fairly standard circumstances for an encounter and I wouldn't describe that as "altering the encounter to neutralize the flamer". If you'd want to do that, I think there are other options (have the encounter in a promethium refinery, make the encounter so that the hostages of the enemy shouldn't be burned alive, have an encounter in the void where there is no oxygen to ignite the promethium, have an encounter in a hallway that is equipped with a state of the art sprinkler system,...).

 

And finally, in some cases it can be great for the players to score an epic win, so don't worry about the fact that they are owning the baddies. I'm sure there is a wide smile on their faces when they are burning heretics and smoking out daemons :D

Edited by Librarian Astelan

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In my games, even within 20 meters the flamer is still outshone by the rest of the group's bolt pistols. It is the best weapon for crowd control, setting foes alight and spreading the joys of the Emperor around, but has only an average damage output at best.
No encounter-fixing is necessary to make flamers redundant - firefights will often start outside flamer range, forcing the flamer guy to traverse enemy fire to launch his own. In narrow trenches and enclosed hallways the flamer is king, and so it should be. Let the pyromaniac be the best at clearing bunkers and small rooms, it is his role after all. As long as you vary your encounters, there should be enough room for all weapons.

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What is the problem with Flamers?

It is a terror weapon. Very fitting in the 40K setting.

 

The local Arbites sees an Acolyte lugging a flamer tank around on his back?

Questioning incoming + subtlety hit.

 

The Acolytes pursue heretics and burn everything?

Collateral damage could ensue - subtlety hit

 

Clever enemies see a flamer wielder?

Run away, regroup, set traps, snipe him/her, stealth kill, bum-rush/charge the flamer.

 

 

Clever enemies will prepare/react accordingly. Use that to set your encounters accordingly. :)

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Just have one bad guy, after seeing the flamer or it fired, shout "Aim for the tanks" loud enough for his buddies and the PCs to hear it. Next round have shots ricocheting around him. I assure you if he doesn't, his fellow Acolytes (standing right next to him) will dive for cover! Either way he is in cover and limited even more in shooting, or he is left standing without friends... open season.

Edited by Warklaw

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I think the real problem with Flamers is their ability to 'shut down' an opponent once they are on fire. The solution I would propose is to reduce the difficulty of the Agility test required to put out the flames, so that being on fire isn't (eventual) automatic death for low-to-mid-level grunts. If the players complain about this, catch them on fire. They'll change their tune toot sweet...

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After so many grunts die because of flamers, wouldn't it become eventually known? It isn't exactly some clean quiet kill, you'll have people screaming in agony while they are burning up. I'd start altering subtlety accordingly.

 

A result might be that grunts equip themselves with fire resistant robes on top of their normal armor, among other consequences because of the lack of shown subtlety.

Edited by Gridash

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After so many grunts die because of flamers, wouldn't it become eventually known? It isn't exactly some clean quiet kill, you'll have people screaming in agony while they are burning up. I'd start altering subtlety accordingly.

 

A result might be that grunts equip themselves with fire resistant robes on top of their normal armor, among other consequences because of the lack of shown subtlety.

 

Although you would be customizing your encounters to counter the flamer, it would work... until you start the next adventure where their subtlety is reset to 50. 

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Most of my players are too terrified of the Enemy talent or of losing their Peer talents to hastily use flamers. Really, using a flamer numerous times on Desoleum (for example) is going to piss off SOMEONE cripplingly important.

 

Stack it up multiple times (which, given how easy it is to get Enemy talent according to written adventures, won't be too difficult) and suddenly everyone on Desoleum knows about and HATES the players. This can be even worse than subtlety because it also affects Influence. Needed ammo? Cute. The Consortium distributor who typically issues your group their las-cells has been ordered to black-list them into the Void because they have Enemy (Consortium)[3] after they burned down two manufactorums and blew up a trade-ship.

 

Regardless of the mechanical effects of Enemy, no matter the -Fellowship and -Influence per tier, it obligates the GM to have whatever faction(s) the PCs wronged make absolute hell for them at the worst kind of time. Or make a regular amount of trouble...regularly. Good narrative control of this kind is the scariest sort of GM power because it typically defies the numbers that players take shelter behind.

Fire is a fairly uncontrollable element once unleashed, and so applying the Enemy talent liberally when the players burn down Emperor-only-knows whose property, you could add it secretly and bring in enemies that the players would normally have zero beef with. All because they order Promethium Canisters in the Costco 12-pack and expended it before they even left the warehouse. I might even go so far as to houserule something in where, if the players stack too many Enemy talents, kill-teams and (in drastic cases) Temple Assassins start coming after them after they get temporarily (or even permanently) disavowed by their Inquisitor. Not a lot that a flamer (or even Flame Breath) can do when a Vindicare puts one through your noodle.

Edited by Whitestone

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Stack it up multiple times (which, given how easy it is to get Enemy talent according to written adventures, won't be too difficult) and suddenly everyone on Desoleum knows about and HATES the players. This can be even worse than subtlety because it also affects Influence. Needed ammo? Cute. The Consortium distributor who typically issues your group their las-cells has been ordered to black-list them into the Void because they have Enemy (Consortium)[3] after they burned down two manufactorums and blew up a trade-ship.

 

 

You are most definitely right, but if I was this Consortium distributor I would hand over the las-cells pronto. The guys that burnt down two manufactorums and blew up a ship are not to be trifled with :D

Edited by Librarian Astelan

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