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Red Bart

Warriors, Weapon Training, and Ballistic Skill

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I've just upgraded my Dark Heresy to the second edition and am proof building a couple of characters to familiarize myself with the process. When rolling up a guardsman (which I intended to make a heavy weapons guy), I noticed that both the Weapon Training talent and Ballistic Skill characteristic use the Finesse aptitude to advance, which a warrior is unable to get. This seems a bit strange as, in my eyes, a warrior should be the role that will be most accustomed to handling different kinds of weapons and hitting things with ranged weapons. I know it´s still possible for a warrior to get these things, but being more expensive, they will be less likely to do that. Certainly with heavy weapons, which don't require a whole hell of a lot finesse, should the warrior be the role who should be able to get that for the minimum amount of XP.

 

What's your take on this? Is this right?

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At first glance, it does sound somewhat strange, though it could be intentional:

 

Finesse is something the Assassin gets, so it could be the system's way of saying that the sniper is going to have an easier time skilling their Ballistic Skill than the grunt. Conversely, the grunt (Warrior) gets both WS and BS instead of having to choose like the Assassin, so he or she becomes more versatile.

 

It's a classic case of "jack of all trades" vs "master at something specific". So .. whilst the Warrior may be the Role most accustomed to handling different kinds of weapons, they won't be an expert at handling a specific weapon, as that is the Assasin's forte.

 

tl;dr: to me, it looks like a feature rather than a bug.

 

Note that you also shouldn't take the Roles literally. They can mean a great many things depending on the Background you mix them with. For example, a dedicated marksman from the Imperial Guard, entirely focused on fighting with his or her longlas rifle, would probably use the Assassin role rather than being a Warrior. On the other hand, the average grunt (probably including heavy weapons teams) would be a Warrior as they'd be more accustomed to hand-to-hand fighting ... and in out-of-character terms allow the sniper to become a more accurate shooter than the guy just spraying and praying with their heavy bolter on full auto, assuming similar XP investments.

Edited by Lynata

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It's kinda like a strenght based fighter vs a Dexterity based ranger/rogue in D&D.

 

They should have made a "soldier" class. Something between assassin and warrior. focused on ranged with a bit of melee and survivability, but no fancy acrobatics or awesome close combat skills.

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It makes sense the way you describe it and it does indeed look like a feature. The fact that heavy weapons also fall under finesse is probably what made it strange to me. Maybe they should have taken that particular weapon training specialization out and made it a separate talent. For all other weapons it kinda makes sense.

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I'd build an Imperial Guard Heavy Weapon Specialist using Assassin, not Warrior. You don't get Offence, oddly enough, but that only applies to a handful of ranged-combat Talents (annoyingly, Bulging Biceps is one of them...just have to suck it up and spend the extra XP for that iconic heavy-weapon-guy Talent). Aside from that you get everything you might want to be good at ranged combat, heavy weapons included.

 

Finesse is key for any kind of ranged guy and Assassin and Desperado are the only two ways of getting it (in the Core Rules anyway). Assassin lets you double up on Fieldcraft with the Imperial Guard Background, allowing you to switch for Strength. Desperado might be more like a criminal gunslinger, as Robin Graves mentions, but coming from an Imperial Guard background, you don't get to double-up any Aptitudes for Strength, so mechanically it doesn't represent a heavy-weapons guy either!

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It makes sense the way you describe it and it does indeed look like a feature. The fact that heavy weapons also fall under finesse is probably what made it strange to me. Maybe they should have taken that particular weapon training specialization out and made it a separate talent. For all other weapons it kinda makes sense.

 

I can see your reasoning. Heavy Weapons are more about lugging the thing around and general operation as opposed to fine accuracy. That being said ... streamlining. The game is overcomplicated as is, and I assume they just wanted to keep things simple. I mean, you could make the same argument about Flame weapons in general. Where do you stop?

 

Yeaaah...no. :)  Desperado is more like a criminal gunslinger...

It feels like there should be another class there...

 

You could make a great scout by combining Desperado with the Imperial Guard background.

 

Ultimately, it's a matter of preferences, but personally I don't see any value in another class. It would only end up pushing the Assassin into a melee corner, as there's really no reason why a sniper should take close combat and agility advantages. I like that the game differentiates between specialist marksmen (Assassin, 2 Aptitudes for BS increase), grunts (Warrior, 1 Aptitude for BS increase) and civilians (Roles without any Aptitude for BS increase).

 

Finesse is key for any kind of ranged guy and Assassin and Desperado are the only two ways of getting it (in the Core Rules anyway). Assassin lets you double up on Fieldcraft with the Imperial Guard Background, allowing you to switch for Strength. Desperado might be more like a criminal gunslinger, as Robin Graves mentions, but coming from an Imperial Guard background, you don't get to double-up any Aptitudes for Strength, so mechanically it doesn't represent a heavy-weapons guy either!

 

I wouldn't use Desperado to build a heavy weapons trooper either; the way I see it, that Role would be more appropriate for a pathfinder. Warrior seems fine to me, as it is exactly the sort of balanced approach you'd find in the average soldier. A littlebit of everything that can be useful.

 

But I also see no reason why "any kind of ranged guy" absolutely needs two Aptitudes for Ballistic Skill. What would end up being the difference between them and an actual sniper?

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But I also see no reason why "any kind of ranged guy" absolutely needs two Aptitudes for Ballistic Skill. What would end up being the difference between them and an actual sniper?

 

It's true, you don't need two aptitudes to be good at ranged combat, but if it's part of your identity (as it is for a heavy weapon specialist), then you really need both Finesse and Ballistic Skill. Too many Talents relating to that identity use one or both of them and you'd be missing out on your concept should you lack one of them.

 

In short; for a general soldier or gang member that uses a gun, one is fine, but for a specialist you need both.

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But is a high accuracy part of a heavy weapon gunner's identity?

 

I suppose in edge cases like an ace anti-tank "lascannon sniper" it could be true, though just like with a regular sniper I'd simply point to the Assassin in these cases. For people operating heavy bolters, multimeltas or rockets, I don't see why they should find it as easy to learn maximum accuracy as the guy/gal who, based on their talent, was chosen to wield a long las.

 

In other words, perhaps this is a case of putting the cart before the grox. If high accuracy is truly a part of the character's natural talents, then he or she would have become a designated marksman rather than being relegated to the role of an auxiliary/support gunner.

 

The Weapon Proficiency itself is a bit more tricky to explain, but then again this is just one purchase, and you could still talk it away by pointing to a sniper being more intimate with their rifle, than one of the several people assigned to a crew-operated weapon.

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You mean like the Desperado? :P

 

Yeaaah...no. :)  Desperado is more like a criminal gunslinger...

 

It feels like there should be another class there...

 

 

Criminal!? I'll have you know my Administratum desperado was lawfully delivering important documents. It's just that the gangs are so bad in that area... Sheaf of papers in one hand, laspistol in the other.

 

So coooool

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But is a high accuracy part of a heavy weapon gunner's identity?

 

I'm not talking about Ballistic Skill, I'm talking about Talents like Hip Shooting, Precision Killer, Deathdealer and Target Selection. A good support gunner (heavy bolter, autocannon, heavy stubber) is going to want Target Selection (a Tier 3 Talent, I might add) as soon as possible. Hip Shooting has obvious application and looks cool with a big-ass gun, to boot!

 

And in answer to your question, yes, high accuracy is indeed a part of a heavy weapon gunners identity; DoS determines how many of your shots hit. More is good. BS is not only sniper markmanship, but also determines your ability to offload many rounds accurately too.

Edited by Jolly P

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We'll have to agree to disagree there -- I do see where you're coming from, but to me, the subjective ideal does not constitute what should be expected. Else you'd just end up demanding any ranged character to get those two Aptitudes because it'll be incredibly useful to all of them. But ultimately, what this leads to is an increased risk for characters to feel "samey" in their progression when they take the same useful advances for the very same cost.

 

Maybe this is why I seem to be one of the few who don't have much of a problem with the Aptitude system as-is: to me, a single Aptitude represents the norm for most characters (like your average soldier, including heavy weapon crews), possessing all two for an advance is for exceptional specialists (like snipers), whereas having none represents nigh-complete lack of exposure or talent.

 

YMMV!

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We'll have to agree to disagree there

 

a single Aptitude represents the norm for most characters

 

OK, yeah. For me, a single Aptitude represents the average soldier; trained but not a specialist. Double Aptitude is the guy whose calling is in that field. If you have no Aptitude, you've no training or talent in that field. A heavy weapons guy is someone that specialises in ranged combat, just as much as any marksman sniper. That the system doesn't differentiate between a sniper and someone good with heavy weapons (due to how Ballistic Skill works), is another matter.

 

You could have a guy that is trained with heavy weapons, but isn't really a specialist. That guy has BS Aptitude, but not Finesse. The guy that is a heavy weapons specialist has the Finesse Aptitude; he's not just trained but actively good with them. He's the guy you trust to cover you whilst you advance on the enemy, the dude you rely on to put down suppressing fire whilst you take down the important target. As a result of how the system works, the same guy could pick up a sniper rifle and be just as proficient as he is with a Heavy Bolter, but that's a flaw in how the system works.

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I've said it sometime ago, so sorry for repeating myself.

First of all, there is no such role as "soldier" or "heavy weapon specialist". Soldier can be Desperado or Assasin, and I believe hardcore specialist centered about one particular type of gun should be. 

Also second. Heavy Weapon Specialist isn't somebody who have BS and Finesse Aptitudes, but somebody who have high BS, Weapon Proficiency (Heavy) and some nice talents. How costly in xp it was for him means nothing for his quality as a support specialist. 

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How costly in xp it was for him means nothing for his quality as a support specialist. 

 

In real terms, you're correct; how quickly someone develops the skills they want has no bearing on how good they are at something at any given time. However, from the characters point of view, if you want to be the guy with high BS, Heavy weapon proficiency and the talents that go towards being a good support specialist, then you're going to want the Finesse Aptitude, as it will help you get those things that define your desired role.

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How costly in xp it was for him means nothing for his quality as a support specialist. 

 

In real terms, you're correct; how quickly someone develops the skills they want has no bearing on how good they are at something at any given time. However, from the characters point of view, if you want to be the guy with high BS, Heavy weapon proficiency and the talents that go towards being a good support specialist, then you're going to want the Finesse Aptitude, as it will help you get those things that define your desired role.

To be honest I want to have all aptitudes. But that's not matter.

I haven't see anything wrong that somebody who specialize on one and only type of weapon, love it, sleep with it defined by his skill to use it is not common field warrior. Not I mean his skills that are higher, he just don't have that mindset that defines warrior (who just fight "it" with everything he had). He is kind of "gun maniac". So he will achieve his gun mastery fast enough, but when things will enter other soldier duties, such as teamwork or deployment, he will... not the first, let's say.

So of course he can be not-Warrior. Assassin with Sure Kill will be even better wielding heavy weapon.

Assasin role better suite weapon specialists. Warrior have solid combat universal skill set. So if I want to play gun maniac - I'd take Assasin, but playing soldier with a HMG I'd prefer Warrior. With Nowhere to Hide, Bulging Biceps, Eye of Vengeance, Mighty Shot - and some solid close-combat set.

Edited by Aenno

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However, from the characters point of view, if you want to be the guy with high BS, Heavy weapon proficiency and the talents that go towards being a good support specialist, then you're going to want the Finesse Aptitude, as it will help you get those things that define your desired role.

 

Well, that's not the character's point of view, but the player's. The character has no concept of "XP", they just try to learn to the best of their ability. And I still think that if the character's superiors were convinced that this soldier had a high aptitude for fine accuracy, they'd have given him or her a sniper rifle rather than a support weapon.

 

Mind you, that does not change that I agree that some Talents might perhaps be better suited to different Aptitudes than they have by RAW.

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I still think that if the character's superiors were convinced that this soldier had a high aptitude for fine accuracy, they'd have given him or her a sniper rifle rather than a support weapon.

 

Possibly, possibly. Then again, maybe his superiors weren't paying that much attention to "just another grunt", issued him a Heavy Stubber and told him to go shoot orks. Turns out he was good at it and his squad mates really appreciated the way he was able to lay down reliable covering fire without hitting them too, unlike the guy in the other squad, who had more of a tendency to spray-and-pray. No-one likes "friendly fire" mishaps!

 

I think we're getting crossed wires over character concept here; you're thinking "If he's a good shot, best to give him a sniper rifle. If he's got a rapid-fire weapon, he doesn't need to be a good shot", whilst I'm thinking "This guy's not just another grunt with a machine gun, he's a frickin' savant with one; he can do in seconds, with a single 20-round burst, what it'd take a sniper more than a minute to achieve with carefully aimed cover-fire". Just because the weapon is designed to compensate for poor marksmanship, doesn't mean someone with an aptitude for fine accuracy can't do better with it than Joe Average. A true heavy-weapon specialist isn't just another grunt with a machine gun, he's actively better at using one.

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Possibly, possibly. Then again, maybe his superiors weren't paying that much attention to "just another grunt", issued him a Heavy Stubber and told him to go shoot orks.

 

That is a good point. Though in this case, I would advise simply picking the Role you would've otherwise used for the sniper.

 

Yep, it's not ideal for a heavy weapons gunner due to missing out on other things. But that's what you get when you have superiors not paying attention to what you're actually good at: you'll not be put into a position where you can make the best out of your talents.

 

 A true heavy-weapon specialist isn't just another grunt with a machine gun, he's actively better at using one.

 

Yeah, but that would be a achieved and represented by spending XP for the relevant advances. ;)

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I would advise simply picking the Role you would've otherwise used for the sniper.

 

I guess that's what I'm saying; the game system doesn't differentiate between the skills required to be a good sniper and those to be a good support gunner with a machine gun. Flaw in the game? Maybe. Perhaps it should, but it doesn't, so if you the player want to be a heavy weapon specialist, you build him like a sniper and give him a big-ass rapid-fire gun. Functionally, the build for both archetypes is about the same (with the exception of a Talent or two, here or there).

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