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Tim Huckelbery

Errata/FAQ Posted

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Hi all, we've just posted up the living errata/faq file for Dark Heresy Second Edition. A huge thanks to everyone who wrote in with great questions, areas in need of clarification, and of course errors in the text. If there are ones you feel need to be added, drop me a line (via the regular rules questions contact page here http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/contact/rules/) or post here. 

 

You can find the file on the support page here:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/dark-heresy-second-edition/

 

–Tim

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Overwatch

 

I'm not sure I agree with the Overwatch clarification from the errata. Its basically saying that given enough targets performing the trigger action, a character can continue to fire in Overwatch, with the only real limit being remaining ammo in the readied weapon, the eventual need to dodge, or direct GM intervention. Thus a weapon can far exceed its physical rate of fire during a turn by the simple matter that more enemies showed up. While cinimaticaly a cute thought, and certainly "rule of cool" is very much a guiding theme in 40k, I'm not sure this is really the appropriate place for this.

 

 

Note that it is triggered each time the condition is met, so if the condition is an enemy moving into the kill zone, the character will perform his set Overwatch response each time an enemy enters the zone.

Just including this for the sake of any discussion, so its clear where I'm getting the multiple attack thing from.

 

I had considered house ruling it only trigger off movements as a "patch" to what still seems to be an otherwise far more potent attack action.

 

It would seem with this current clarification, a single acolyte set up behind cover and using Overwatch against 10 enemies who are attacking the warband could continue to fire full auto bursts at each of these 10 enemies during a single combat turn. It just doesn't feel right that there is no limit on the number of attacks (as clearly stated in the FAQ response).

 

This clarification is simply cementing Overwatch as the superior combat action to take over the others, due to the principles of economy of actions in tabletop games. Overwatch is essentially "producing" actions characters can take, and is thus inherently better than actions that don't "produce" more actions. Simultaneously, its attacking the economy of actions of opponents by focring Pinning tests.

 

While certainly Rule zero can and should kick in, it shouldn't really be the only line of defense to avoid this level of abuse.

 

I would definitely stick with it being a single attack, or at the very least a finite ir seemingly-finite set of attacks (perhaps a constantly increasing BS penalty).

 

 

 

Everything else looks pretty solid. Or at least I need to mull it over a bit more.

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Well, you do have to take in mind one fairly serious question.

 

What kind of idiot charges someone set up with a heavy stubber after he's just seen two people get mowed down in front of him?

 

This is one of the reasons that casualties in WW1 were so high.  People did not in fact yet grasp just how lethal a machine gun is.  The caveat is that for overwatch, you can only cover a certain area, and you have to deliberately set it up.  I believe that players should be rewarded for effectively setting up a defense involving an overwatch (since you can't move while doing it), and anyone who isn't smart enough to take a different path and not run into the line of fire should be punished.  This also makes things such as smoke grenades, or even grenades for that matter of fact, very useful.  Remember, this isn't like a computer game where NPCs will mindlessly charge at a gun line.  You have the power to make an NPC think "That guy in front of me just got splattered.   I'd better not step into that corridor without a plan."

 

It's just like anything in the game.  If players think outside the box and use the mechanic favorably, reward them.  If they start abusing it, give NPCs tools to get around it, such as

 

Concealment:  Example given in the FAQ itself.  A barrage of smoke grenades to obscure vision and/or make the character waste ammo that is extremely precious in DH2

Long range:  A machine gun nest is what would be considered "prime target" for a sniper with a long las or sniper rifle

Other routes: Overwatch is amazing for a corridor, and again, this is the ideal situation.  However on an open battlefield....just walk around.

Mistaken identity:  Depending on how far away the target is....will the player behind that heavy stubber fire on ANYTHING that enters the field of fire?  How accurately can they identify a foe at 50m or more?  Can you say collateral damage if they try and do this somewhere crowded?

Fair play:  NPC's start using overwatch.

Edited by Adder007USA

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Machineguns had been around for two centuries by then. Suicidal charges, though? Even longer than that. Knights + longbow, 'nough said.

 

Or, to put it in 40k terms... "Don't turn around, the commissar is making his rounds."

 

 

Two decades actually.  While multi-shot weapons go back to late 1500's, prior to WW1 the only practical mass produced rapid fire gun was the Gatling gun from the mid 1800's, and that had to be carted around on a horse drawn carriage, and was hand crank fired.  While a nasty weapon, they were still not man-portable.  I believe just about the turn of the century was when the maxim gun was invented....first true machine gun, each round was loaded by the recoil rather than crank, had a blistering fire rate, and they were actually man portable, so a machine gun nest could be set up very quickly.

 

But I digress.

 

Most of the heretics our players are facing in DH are not backed by a commisar.  While some gang leaders do have that kind of clout, most don't have enough to convince narco gangers to step out into an obvious lead storm.  This is especially reinforced by the fact that rapid fire guns are practically ubiquitous in 40k....EVERY hive ganger knows what a stubber or autogun sounds like on auto, and they know what they can do.  Again, the GM does not have to play the stupid mook card.  You're likely to catch a few before they cotton on, but once the first few fall to overwatch, the others are likely to re-consider their course of action.

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40k has a rather broad field of people and creatures who will do the suicide charge or have semi-intelligent beasts soak up bullets before them to do exactly that. Orkz come to mind, for example. A runtheard will pour snotlings, squiggs and gretchin at a position until all he can hear is the clicking of the mags. After that, it's krumpin' time for the boyz. Stupider boyz might forgo plan snotling, and outright bullrush a heavy weapons emplacement, as well. Then you have necrons, syntheticum-controlled cyberzombies, plague zombies, critter stampedes, gene stealers/hybrids (!),  the whole deal, and that's without some 'hole behind your foes thinking he's Yarrick.

 

Now, in general terms of NPC portrayals I agree this should be the exception, but I would second Radwraith's point feel that sufficient numbers should be capable of overwhelming a single gunner using the relatively low firing rates found in Warhammer 40k. Not having a cap on overwatch essentially means your position is secure if you can blast the enemy to bits, no matter if it's something like a ripper swarm where it's flat out impossile to actually shoot enough as a single person to hold it off. Personally, I would cap it similar to the storm weapon quality, with 3xfiring rate, since you're essentially just pouring bullets into a zone for an extended period of time in those situations and assign the appropriate semi and full auto penalty to the action if multiple shots are taken.

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I follow your logic...and somewhat agree, but you have to think about it within context and game practicality.  It does depend on the weapon being used.  There are two heavy weapons that are designed around overwatch, the heavy stubber, and heavy bolter, so I'm gonna focus on these.

 

It is possible to overwhelm overwatch.  As long as a player hasn't gone with a backpack ammo supply, this will happen once you hear the ominous *click* of doom.  Again, it's not like rogue trader where ammo is plentiful and free....the standard rule for a weapon is a full clip + 2 reloads when you acquire it.  For a heavy stubber or bolter, that means that base, you're only going to have a total of 10 bursts before having to reload.  Per mission that's only 30 bursts,  Yes, there are some shenanigans involved with backpack ammo supplies, but that's such a ridiculously huge amount of ammo that I'd be asking the group

 

1.  If you're getting this before mission, your inquisitor is going to ask just what you need that kind of firepower for

2.  If you're making an influence roll to acquire it on the run, you're going to completely blow your subtlety rating when word gets out that a massive amount of ammunition went to an unknown party.

 

Now, the idea of being able to exhaust someone in overwatch...you're talking about tons of cannon fodder mooks.  Which then leads to the question of either why are they facing so many enemies, they had to have screwed up really badly somewhere else.  Or, If it was intended, then without said massed firepower, how were they supposed to survive?

 

 

The reason I go back to the ammo clip is there's a little bit of disbelief when I consider a heavy bolter or stubber, and somehow if you throw 3 guys at the person holding it, the 4th guy is magically going to come out unscathed?  If you look at each individual weapon, they do almost the same as a basic or pistol weapon of the same type, so their true advantage is in rate of fire.  On an individual normal full-auto attack, now that there's a penalty to hit instead of a bonus, you are going to be **** lucky to get more than 2 or 3 hits.  Compare the following weapons.

 

Autogun vs. Heavy stubber.  Same damage per shot, better pen on HS, different clip size, autogun isn't forced to full auto.  Autogun runs out of ammo at the same as HS time when fired on semi, can keep firing way longer on single shot, though obviously doing almost no damage depending on dice roll.  Again, you have to roll ridiculously well to get more than 3 hits, so the extra shots per burst on the heavy stubber don't mean much.  By limiting overwatch to 3 per turn, they have pretty much the same effectiveness outside of armor pen, And lets face it....most massed enemies don't have very good armor, so the difference isn't much.

 

Boltgun vs. Heavy Bolter:  Heavy does 3 more damage, but same pen, and has 2 more bursts before reload. Boltgun will last longer than HB if using single shot.  This is more practical than with the autogun, since pen and tearing prevent lousy damage rolls.

 

 

By limiting overwatch, you're relegating a big clunky weapon that has to be braced anyways, to being only marginally more effective than a standard basic weapon as far as overwatch is concerned.  At that point, the only reason you'd ever want to use one is if you're facing something big.  By not limiting it, you keep one of the main advantages of these heavy weapons; The ability to pour massive amounts of ammo downrange before having to reload.  The entire point of these massive ammo magazines is to permit effective overwatch, where you can put massive bursts downrange AND still do heavy damage.  On all other weapons, you have to choose one or the other, damage or rate of fire before reload.

 

 

The one place I'm going to agree with you is in regards to backpack ammo.  This creates a few absurd situations where the ammunition is just never ending.  In this case, I'd possibly put an 'overheat" limit where instead of "reloading" the gun has to spend a turn not in overwatch to cool down if it ever reaches its normal clip size in rounds fired during overwatch.

Edited by Adder007USA

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But thats the thing, while there are indeed those two machinegun type weapons that Overwatch works well with, -any- weapon with -any- rate of fire can be used on Overwatch. Lasgun, Stub Revolver, Lascannon (although looking again at DH2e core, guess its not in there), Meltagun, Flamer, you name it. As long as it is a weapon with a rate of fire, and a magazine capacity (in other words, any weapon, although the magazine capacity greatly determines its scaling effectivness), then it can be used in Overwatch and can produce a number of attacks equal to its (magazine capacity) / (rate of fire). Heck, in theory, grenades and bows can be used on Overwatch.

 

The problem ultimately is there should be an idea of a weapon having a physical rate of fire, which it otherwise can't go beyond within a given timeframe (currently handled by the weapons listed Rate of Fire), and this Overwatch ruling is basically saying "eh, whatever, shoot as much as you want." Now, by all means, I don't need nor do I want my tabletop RPGs to be a simulation of reality, but when a guy with a meltagun can pump out 5 shots in one turn against enemies attacking from cover, just because he nominated a smart killzone and a good Overwatch trigger, I start to get a bit eye-twitchy. A flamer with a S/-/- RoF and having a 6 round magazine is more a representation that it can sustain fire for a period of time equal to about 6 turns worth of shooting before it runs out of fuel. This is representing that this is how long a flamer can shoot before it runs out. Using Overwatch though, one could easily shoot till its dry in just one turn.

 

Consider it like this, a squad of 10 guardsmen in a trench with fully loaded lasguns can lay down 600 shots in a single turn, if they all set up Overwatch against a group of 60 opponents. While I'm fine with the guardsmen being able to shoot a good bit in such a way, for them to expend their lasgun charge packs in a single turn's worth of shooting is just too far out there for me. Did I mention that these shots are undodgeable by the way? Because they are, by RAW. The issue is more that these guardsmen could choose to make more "traditional" attacks and shoot with semi-auto, but economy of action wise that simply doesn't compare to making 60 undodgable shots that invoke pinning. The difference in magnitude is far too great.

 

While I get the argument that as a game, especially an investigative game, the players shouldn't be up against such an insane amount of opposition, I would say consider a similar situation of players with stub revolvers in a bar shootout with 6 hive gangers. Here too, can they use Overwatch, and to great effect.

 

Also note, part of this FAQ clarification is that Overwatch -doesn't- have to trigger off just movement actions. So to use this "suicidal charge" idea doesn't really cut it. The problem is more that I can set up Overwatch, nominate "anyone shooting in my direction" as the Overwatch trigger, and use it to shoot at enemies who are wisely attacking from cover. Even more is how loose the trigger wording is described. In some interpretations, Overwatch doesn't even have to trigger off an action taken by a target; Overwatch simply requires the shooter to designate the conditions under which they will fire. Yes the FAQ suggests a rule 0 fix of a GM maybe requiring an Awareness check, and sure, this may be fitting, but this still only affects a porition of the attacks, and in more "boring" scenarios doesn't really work, such as short range shootouts in close quarters with pretty good lighting.

 

At this point, this then means that Overwatch is simply superior to other forms of attack. It can hit multiple targets, invokes pinning tests, and can't be dodged. Other than it ending if the Overwatch user has to dodge, it simply is a better option than a normal attack (assuming you have a Full Action to devote to attacking and would otherwise be Half Aim + Attacking); the probabilities and economy of actions are on your side with Overwatch.

 

Really what the heavy rate of fire weapons should be using to inflict their damage to large groups of enemies are the mechanics relating to extra hits being distributed to nearby enemies, as well as having a large enough rate of fire to give them those potential hits. I would go so far as to say maybe they should have either Storm, or some other weapon quality that improves them. I personally wouldn't be against pulling out the Pinning rules from Overwatch, and instead creating a new "Pinning" weapon quality that Heavy Bolters/Stubbers get, and then say that Pinning weapons inflict a Pinning test when shot at by them, as well as make the Pinning test from Suppressing Fire even worse.

 

 

Also, DeathByGrotz, while its an honor to be confused for Radwraith, I am someone different, I guess I haven't as frequently posted on here in recent times, I was way more active when DW and OW were new, but I'm back around as I am prepping to run my gaming group in a 2e game. Just trying to refamiliarize myself with the rules and be able to make wise snap-decisions on the rules as needed (as well as interpretations and house rules that don't break the game), as well as to be able to respond properly to any rules question.

 

EDIT: I would also like to point out that I was said to be interpreting the rules wrong in my thread on Overwatch, fun to see I was not wrong at the time, especially given how long it took for me to argue around those statements.

Edited by KommissarK

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