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GauntZero

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Each round represents roughly five seconds, regardless of how many characters are involved

 

This is from page 216 of the rulebook. The timing is based on rounds, not turns Gaunt. 

 

goddamn my terminology dislexia!

 

Anyway, I had the terms mixed up in my head.

 

Still, your water pistol analogy just isn't a measure up to any sort of real training experiences with weapons with actual firing mechanisms beyond single shot. Gaunt, please look up some youtube videos of people using actual rifles. 2 seconds alone is enough to engage enemies several time in a kill zone. And it's also actual doctrine for training. 

Edited by Cogniczar

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It occurs to me that players are likely to be on the receiving end of overwatch more often than using it. Lets take storming a cultist lair as an example:

 - Attacking from outside the overwatch zones before those in the overwatch zone do anything defeats the overwatch. Cultists are more likely to know the routes around their base than players.

 - If the overwatch causes a standoff, the cultists are probably benefiting the most. Because the standoff gives them time to summon reinforcements and/or have some cultists escape.

 - If the PCs are waiting in a corridor for cultists to arrive at the end and the cultists can see them on camera, nobody is coming down that corridor until they are ready. If the cultists are waiting for the PCs to come down a corridor, the PCs might not have camera footage. Or they might not be in a position to wait.

 - The scariest overwatch scenario I can think of is an overwatching hot-shot lasgun (or maybe heavy las weapon*) connected to a major power supply (such as the bases reactor). Because that won't run out of charge even when it fires a semi/full-auto burst at everyone. But such a weapon would be stationary. Which makes it more likely that a cultist is operating it.

 

 

*Which don't seem to be present in any DH2 book for some reason.

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overwatchfundebate.png

 

 

Ok, so rather than not use a visual aid, i went and made one to show you where I'm coming from. (Ps. I missed having debates with ya!)

 

The main reason why the open sandbox 'theoritical killing spree' with overwatch doesn't work, is because even in an open sandbox environment (white grid backdrop), there are too many other variables in play that limit it to reasonable levels. In the above you can see I marked a 45 degree kill zone. The weapon in question can be an autogun or lasgun, doesn't matter. What does is matter is that in this extreme example where I placed hundreds of cultist tokens down, only seven would be potential victims to Overwatch - and only if they hit the specified trigger. Line of Sight does play a role, as well as in character reactions. 

 

Theoretically you could potentially kill several dozens, hundreds maybe, with this Action alone if somehow you had a) infinite ammunition, b) all the enemies triggered the event somehow without picking up on it from the first few fellows to get shot at, c) could be observable at all beyond the front rank, and lastly d) once you get a certain amount of bad guys, its going to be a horde no doubt and would have envoked a single overwatch to begin with. 

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I will be honest the only issue I see is U get multiple attacks, if it was you cover your zone and fire when they "break" your ROE but you only had 1 attack, now I can see "spreading" full auto fire on "group" that cross u, but multiple full attacks  no way.

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Even 2 attacks are 1 too much - the 43 thieves (whoever came up with that :D) are just an extreme example.

 

And balancing issues aside, it would also leave a lot of questions unaswered, like:

 

If I can fire on lets say 4 target during overwatch (which is kind of delay), why cant I shot on 4 targets normally with 4 Standard attacks when I start shooting right away. Why am I slower making a regular attack than when I wait to shoot ?

 

Does the concentrated waiting somehow bündle my Adrenalin reserves, so I can unleash them as soon as enemies come within the blink of a Moment ? Is this, what Shadowrun knows as the Reflex Booster ?

Or is it more like Meditation, where your spiritual waiting for the shots indeed slows down time around you (Matrix style).

Especially the second Explanation would have to be discussed with your local Inquisitor though, as the influence of the warp cannot completely be ruled out...

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Why am I slower making a regular attack than when I wait to shoot ?

 

They've done studies with reaction times and found that "reactionary" actions are, in fact, quicker than "active" ones. I apologise for not being able to give a source, but it was a little while ago that I read about it and forget the actual source (I assure you it was at least a little reliable!). The first time I heard about it was in a documentary about "wild west gunfights"...yes, I'm aware that they are nothing like they're portrayed in the movies, but the program was about the "real" wild west and the crux of it was that yes, the guy that drew first was often the guy that got shot first because the reaction of their opponent was faster than their own action. I looked it up independently after watching that show and confirmed it (but as I say, I forget the source).

 

I still think you're missing the point of the rule though; it's not a simulationist rule to say "you can either shoot once with a shoot action or shoot multiple times with Overwatch", it's an abstract rule to represent the ability to threaten a group of people or effectively cover a small area.

 

Let's take away the Overwatch action altogether and take the 40 thieves situation. You're covering a corridor, ready to shoot anything that comes around the corner. The Thieves know this (somehow). One guy rounds the corner, you plug him. The rest of the Thieves now come screaming around the corner with impunity and you're completely unable to react to this (except to Dodge or whatever). From a gaming point of view, there's no incentive for the other 39 thieves to care that you've got that corridor covered. They should care, because one man can do more than just shoot the first guy that comes round a corner.

 

Yes, Overwatch is capable of breaking the "action economy" compared to taking a single Standard Attack or what-have-you. The question is, does it, in actual practice, break the game by giving you the potential to break the normal action economy? Further, does Overwatch fulfill the purpose of allowing someone to "cover" an area effectively, such that acting in that area is actually considered a risk? If the answer to these questions is "no" and "yes" respectfully, then it's doing what it's supposed to. Any further consideration of "why can't I just shoot 40 times a turn instead?" is regarding the rules as a direct simulation of real life and not an abstract set of rules to represent the in-game action in a way that makes sense. No rules will ever achieve the former with any accuracy, but we can achieve the latter.

Edited by Jolly P

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And balancing issues aside, it would also leave a lot of questions unaswered, like:

 

If I can fire on lets say 4 target during overwatch (which is kind of delay), why cant I shot on 4 targets normally with 4 Standard attacks when I start shooting right away. Why am I slower making a regular attack than when I wait to shoot ?

 

But the thing is you can in several other ways.

 

1. Whirlwind of Death Talent can hit up well up 4-7 targets depending on character build.

2. Desperados can make up to three attacks in the same round. Four with a Ballistic Mechadendrite.

 

Mostly, your slower making a regular attack since the character is assumingly moving about, isn't aiming or positioning himself with his weapon only at the ready. 

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I take my meltagun, walk up next to a highway filled with rapidly moving autocarriges, go into overwatch, and inform my GM that the trigger is "if a car moves in my killzone, I shoot at it." Realize then that all of these autocarriages are moving, and can't suddenly stop. Even if they did "stop" that is still arguably moving and would invoke the trigger. Also, I'm being nice here, the rules aren't as specific as what the trigger needs to be. Its written that I may well be capable of saying "if anything takes any action." Also note that trigger to attack can be skipped on a case by case basis. I can trigger the attack, but then suddenly choose not to attack, thus there is little reason to provide constraints to the trigger.

 

 

 

. Each any [sic] time the specified conditions are met before the start of the character's next turn, he can perform that attack (so long as he is otherwise eligible to do so). 

 

By my next turn I've already expended all the ammo in my meltagun. And there are a bunch of wrecked autocarraiges on the highway.

 

This clearly is not the intended course of play given that the Meltagun has a RoF of 1/-/-. Clearly the designers of the rules would intend that only a single meltagun shot be fired from the start of turn 1 to the start of turn 2. The idea of firing more than 1 is simply preposterous. We have to assume that on some level, a meltagun has some rate of fire such that it can't fire more than 1 shot every few seconds, yet here we are expending its melta canister in one round.

 

The problem is more that the optimal way to play the game shifts dramatically if you actually consider using Overwatch as written. and yet it doesn't seem that they intend for Overwatch to be used outside of a few special situations. Again, it feels like the designers didn't even consider the ramifications of being able to fire Overwatch any number of times.

Edited by KommissarK

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This clearly is not the intended course of play given that the Meltagun has a RoF of 1/-/-. Clearly the designers of the rules would intend that only a single meltagun shot be fired from the start of turn 1 to the start of turn 2. 

 

What is clear? That, as a half-action, you can fire only a single Standard Attack shot with a meltagun. What are you doing with your other Half Action? Aiming? Moving? Something else? There's nothing implied in RoF about the amount of time it takes to fire the weapon, only that using a Standard Attack or Guarded Action it takes a half-action to do so. Overwatch tells us that if all you do in a turn is cover an area, you're not even taking Reactions, you can fire more than once. That's pretty clear to me. Your implications are not so clear.

 

The "optimal" way to play is to use the options presented appropriately. Nothing "changes" or "shifts" in game-play unless you change the rules. Overwatch is very good for holding a position or threatening a small area. Nothing else. You can't advance, you can't grab macguffins, you can't even shoot your intended target if they don't meet your designated condition.

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This clearly is not the intended course of play given that the Meltagun has a RoF of 1/-/-. Clearly the designers of the rules would intend that only a single meltagun shot be fired from the start of turn 1 to the start of turn 2. 

 

What is clear? That, as a half-action, you can fire only a single Standard Attack shot with a meltagun. What are you doing with your other Half Action? Aiming? Moving? Something else? There's nothing implied in RoF about the amount of time it takes to fire the weapon, only that using a Standard Attack or Guarded Action it takes a half-action to do so. Overwatch tells us that if all you do in a turn is cover an area, you're not even taking Reactions, you can fire more than once. That's pretty clear to me. Your implications are not so clear.

 

The "optimal" way to play is to use the options presented appropriately. Nothing "changes" or "shifts" in game-play unless you change the rules. Overwatch is very good for holding a position or threatening a small area. Nothing else. You can't advance, you can't grab macguffins, you can't even shoot your intended target if they don't meet your designated condition.

 

If the weapon could be fired more than once in a round, it would have a semi-automatic firing mode.

 

Why can't the other Half Action be used to make a second Standard Attack? Clearly delineating RoF is why. Some weapons can fire more shots per turn that others, and there are Actions that represent that. There are also limitations on Actions to prevent breaking that RoF.

 

Understand that Overwatch can trigger an unlimited number of times, for as vague a trigger as "a character takes an action" (with the option of just choosing not to shoot if that character is an ally, or even if the target isn't worth the bullet).

 

One member of the party Overwatches, the others advance. Then they trade up.

 

Consider Player ABC. ABC is generally aware of the rules, but has not seen this thread and is not explicitly aware of the rules oddities surrounding Overwatch. They think Aiming and taking a single Full Auto Attack action is a pretty good idea when you're behind cover. They just consider Overwatch to be a form of readied attack, that sort of boilerplate RPG rule that allows PCs to prepare for a potential attack rather than merely be SOL when an enemy moves into the room.

 

Then consider player XYZ. XYZ is fully aware of the rules, understands the oddities surround Overwatch (undodgable, pinning, infinite attacks, extremely vague trigger, optional attack), and understands the tactical use of both Overwatch and the other normal attacks in a given situation.

 

I would posit that the advantage XYZ has over ABC in general effectiveness is several orders of magnitude beyond that of any other case of partial vs. full knowledge of a rule in DH2e.

 

For example:

-Knowing that when you Move/Full move, but not Run, adjacent to a character you can become locked in melee with them.

-Knowing that you can't dodge a counter attack.

-Knowing that you can replace a damage die d10 with the DoS of the attack.

 

All of those -pale- in comparison to knowing that Overwatch is a potentially infinite, Pinning, undodgable, selectable attack with an extremely vague trigger, and is an equally valid Attack action to take when face to face with an enemy as Standard Attack, Semi-Auto, Full-Auto, or Suppressing Fire (as opposed to just being the option to ready an attack vs. an unseen foe). And all you need to make sure is that you have a better Agi than the target, as well as be reasonably sure they are approaching through your firing arc.

 

The problem is this, unlike any other rule oddity that you may or may not know, failing to understand the effectiveness of Overwatch, and then having it revealed to you basically shows that you've been playing the game -wrong- this whole time.

Edited by KommissarK

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How does a player know they have a higher agi than an npc? How is a finite amount of ammunition considered potentially limitless? Very much grasping here kommissark

Only takes one round of Overwatch to find out if their Agi is higher, and then you can switch it up. Hardly that penalizing to lose just one shot against an enemy, and I would much rather attempt to Overwatch and find out it won't work as effectively, than to only take one shot and lose out on all the other potentially extra attacks I could be making.

 

Also note, you still get the attack, and they'd basically have to Run to break the killzone. Also of note, should they suddenly be able to change their Action mid-Action in order to account for the so-far-having-not-fired Overwatch? If they're doing a Full Move, and just happen to walk into my kill-zone, but they have a higher Agi than me, I think its debatable if they get the choice to change their movement so that they walk out of the kill-zone. Or that they can alter their Run destination mid-Run. Isn't it a case of state the Action you are taking, and then resolve it?

 

Finally, its usually pretty easy to guess a targets Agi. Are they big and slow looking? Bad Agi. Are they small and fast looking? Good Agi. Are they human? Likely 20-40 Agi. Are they big/brutish creatures? Likely 15-30 Agi. Are they Eldar? Don't bother with Overwatch.

 

As to ammo. Sure, you're right. Nothing is "limitless." But the issue is scaling. You last mentioned some options that can reach into the 4-7 attacks in a turn region. And certainly, that is impressive. With Overwatch, we're talking the 40-300 potential attacks (Overwatch using Standard Attack with a backpack fed Autogun, thats like 200-300 shots, right?). You just can't compete with that scale. Generally, the point is, it will have the chance to hit every opponent in the kill-zone unless you're using a high volume rate of fire weapon's full-auto, are up against way too many enemies, or if you have a weapon with a very low capacity (e.g. a Bow).

 

I don't think its "grasping" to find issue with the option to be able to hit potentially every single opponent in an encounter with an attack in a single turn, when otherwise the intent of the system seems to be one attack per turn.

 

EDIT: What I find absolutely hilarious is that in my old thread from 2014 on Overwatch, I had to back-pedal so far to deal with people that claimed it was certainly only one shot. That surely I was mad for reading Overwatch as being any number of attacks. And now I have to argue against the idea that it apparently is OK that Overwatch is any number of attacks, and clearly I'm mad for thinking it is broken.

Edited by KommissarK

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EDIT: What I find absolutely hilarious is that in my old thread from 2014 on Overwatch, I had to back-pedal so far to deal with people that claimed it was certainly only one shot. That surely I was mad for reading Overwatch as being any number of attacks. And now I have to argue against the idea that it apparently is OK that Overwatch is any number of attacks, and clearly I'm mad for thinking it is broken.

 

Heh...I wasn't party to the other thread, but that is pretty funny.

 

If the weapon could be fired more than once in a round, it would have a semi-automatic firing mode.

 

Not necessarily. Semi-auto fire is also a half-action. There's no "shoot rapidly with a single-shot weapon as a full action" Full Action...except for Overwatch. The Stub Revolver, the classic "six shooter", is a perfect example of the sort of weapon you'd be able to fire rapidly as a full-action, but it costs you everything to do so; both hands, not moving, not reacting to other stimulous, focused on a small area...sounds like Overwatch to me. Perhaps there should be a "Rapid Fire" Full Action, that allows a single-shot non-automatic weapon to, well, fire rapidly...but if Overwatch does functionally the same thing as well as provide for more typical Overwatch situations...why duplicate rules?

 

Understand that Overwatch can trigger an unlimited number of times, for as vague a trigger as "a character takes an action" (with the option of just choosing not to shoot if that character is an ally, or even if the target isn't worth the bullet).

 

Theoretically, yes, Overwatch can trigger an unlimited number of times. Practically, however, it won't. Why? Because people aren't stupid. Creatures, perhaps, might be, or fanatics, but many of them might well ignore the worst aspects of Overwatch (namely the pinning) or it would make sense for them to suffer it. If someone has a gun trained on you; WHY ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING BUT SURRENDER? If you're Mr.Agility and think you can take back the Initiative, you don't care about Overwatch. If you're not, or you're not sure, then if someone gets the jump on you, then you don't fly into a shootout, because you'll get shot. I've said it already; Overwatch is supposed to be threatening. If it's not, it's not doing an adequate enough job. If that means "breaking the action economy" to do so, then so be it. If, as GM, I need an NPC to survive for the purposes of Plot, I'll give him plot armour and say he survives. Is this in the rules? No. Does it break the normal rules? Of course. Is it a legitimate move on my part? I'm the GM, so yes. Should the rules be allowed to contradict themselves? Why not? The GM is just an arbiter of the rules; another aspect of them, if you will. If he can "break the rules" why can't another rule in the book?

 

Another limitation on the "unlimited" number of shots has already been discussed; ammunition. I won't go into that further. Want another one? Line of Sight. Cover, other characters that have already triggered the Overwatch and gas/smoke can all prevent a shot being taken. The more things that trigger the Overwatch, the more likely that LoS will be broken. Another one? Getting shot. You might decide not to try and evade an incoming attack, but let's face it; you'd have to be suicidal to. Take that reaction and BAM! Overwatch gone.

 

One member of the party Overwatches, the others advance. Then they trade up.

 

Sounds like good squad tactics to me. What's wrong here?

Edited by Jolly P

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Should the rules be allowed to contradict themselves? Why not? The GM is just an arbiter of the rules; another aspect of them, if you will. If he can "break the rules" why can't another rule in the book?

I disagree. I feel that the rules should at least on paper be internally consistent. Otherwise the books aren't worth my money, and I should just go use some other system. I should point out, that ever since the FAQ ruling, I indeed have stopped purchasing the FFG line of 40k RPG books, with this being the primary reason. I have an otherwise complete set of the 40k RPG line, and I'm still quite happy with my Deathwatch Collectors Edition. But that FAQ ruling just pushed me over the edge. They were faced with the perfect opportunity to fix it and the maniacs blew it up.

 

By all means Rule 0 is a critical tool for GMs, and sure, exercising it is completely within their rights. But I think players do need a consistent language of rules to work from, and leaving broken rules in the system, or making it such that each attempt to perform a certain activity must have an explicit rule 0 check is just plain a bad rules system.

 

Sure, I'm fine with more narrative rule systems that are built around the idea of the GM taking firmer control over the game, but DH measures its distances in meters, it has a numeric wounds system, it has status effects, it has a quantified number and types of actions the players can take. Hell, Actions have sub-types. As written, DH has a language of rules that the players and GMs are invited to work within. To then just have a rule in the book that disregards that language, that just sort of says "well GM, you just figure out what an allowable trigger for Overwatch is" (because as a player, why shouldn't I just say "whenever my enemy breathes in my kill-zone"). Or that the rules go on to have explicit wording saying you cannot take the same action sub-type twice in the same round, and then very clearly with Overwatch, lets a PC take the same Action multiple times.

 

Consider that as written, this means that heavy crossbow from enemies within can fire its 12 2 meter long crossbows at 12 enemies within a single round, assuming that all the conditions can be met.

 

Or that a backpack fed sniper rifle user on Overwatch can shoot at and potentially pin 100-200ish targets in the same round. I get on a hilltop and perform an Overwatch attack against a formation of troops marching through the valley. Maybe I'll get a solid Righteous Fury against a couple 20 mooks or so and kill them, and then immediately following in the next round I break off. I then continue to harry the enemy in this manner, day by day. Sure, its a neat premise, but the key problem is the amount of shots in a single round. It very clearly detracts from the game, and beyond a rule 0 GM slap against the player, it seems to be completely allowed by the rules.

 

Certainly, this is all assuming ideal conditions, but its just ridiculous to even come out in favor of it. The RAW is just plain -bad-.

 

Quite simply, I'd rather be using Rule 0 to permit players to do cool things, than apply Rule 0 to forbid them to do things the rules seem to implicitly allow.

Edited by KommissarK

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Quite simply, I'd rather be using Rule 0 to permit players to do cool things, than apply Rule 0 to forbid them to do things the rules seem to implicitly allow.

 

I'm not saying it takes Rule 0 to "balance" the Overwatch rules, I'm saying it's OK for the Overwatch rules to contradict the "normal" rule that a RoF S/-/- weapon can fire once per round, if that's what it take to make Overwatch do what it's supposed to.

 

Is this internally consistent? No. Does it have to be? No. Just as the GM is not beholden to be consistent between mooks and main antagonists surviving encounters. If you dislike the inconsistency, then that's your call.

 

No-one is denying that under completely ideal circumstances, the Overwatch rule is silly...but the crux of it is this; when are circumstances ever ideal? Yes, in theory it looks ridiculous. In practice, however, it functions the way it's supposed to.

 

If you, as a player in my game, sit on Overwatch in every fight as the first thing you do because "it's better than doing any other action", you'll be sorely disappointed that you're not getting anywhere, that you find yourself shooting at ghosts, that you're overwhelmed by sheer numbers of reinforcements, that you run out of ammo, that you get blindsided by flanking maneuvers and shot in the back.

 

I get that the problem is a theoretical one...but if a theory doesn't hold up in practice then we call that theory "false".

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Also...taking into account that a "turn" is not really a part of a round, but an abstraction of a characters part in it, makes the question appear, why attack Actions are limited within turns, but not inside rounds.

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I had to go back and look at the original Overwatch in 1E to double-check but that was the only instance where I could find Overwatch stipulating that the Overwatch action ended after the specified attack action was used (in 1E's case, it had to be a Full-Auto Burst). No instance since 1E directly specified how many times Overwatch could trigger and the FAQ is the first real clarification.

 

I'm inclined to disagree with the FAQ for Overwatch and I think that it contradicts a point of the whole Overwatch action. The phrase "If a character on Overwatch performs any actions or Reactions, such as Evasion, his Overwatch immediately ends" implies that the character is capable of performing actions outside of their turn, which is generally not possible. Overwatch requires the character performing the action to nominate a specific Attack action to perform as part of the Overwatch. My understanding is that the performance of this Attack action is part of but still technically separate to Overwatch and that performing this Attack action causes Overwatch to end and not trigger until the player's next turn. That would seem to disallow multiple attacks through Overwatch which the FAQ says is okay.

 

I'd be fine with Overwatch having multiple attacks if the conditions in which it activates were more strictly defined. As it stands, I could Overwatch a target 400 metres away with a Lasgun and have bugger all chance to hit but still force a Pinning test. There are no range limitations specific to Overwatch aside from the 45 degree angle that governs how large the kill zone could be. If it was something where you could only Overwatch up to half range like it was in 1E, I'd be happy to allow more OVerwatch attacks provided the conditions were met. As everyone says, ideal Overwatch conditions are extremely unlikely but having an un-dodgeable shot at potentially multiple targets that still force Pinning tests is very powerful.

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Or how about this, as mentioned earlier, you can Overwatch with a Flamethrower. No test to hit, and the smoke grenade won't help

 

Except if said grenade block your view and you don,t see them.

 

 

Anyway, your gun won't have the ammo necessaries to shoot all those people.

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Or how about this, as mentioned earlier, you can Overwatch with a Flamethrower. No test to hit, and the smoke grenade won't help

 

Except if said grenade block your view and you don,t see them.

 

 

Anyway, your gun won't have the ammo necessaries to shoot all those people.

 

First of all, the game does have rules for shooting blindly. Pretty sure its in the -40 to -60 BS modifier range, but it is present. Its not normally brought up as a point, because, well, why bother? But in the case of flamethrowers, there is no test, and therefore firing blindly is one of the perks of the attack.

 

Also, this particular case was dealing with what happens when the targets agility beats that of the Overwatching character. Realize therefore, that this means that the Overwatch trigger has occurred, and the Overwatch user is rightfully "getting" their attack. It is just that the defending character has the higher Agi, and can make an action first.

 

Therefore, it seems perfectly fine that if my trigger is "an enemy makes an attack in my killzone," and an enemy in my killzone uses a smoke grenade (technically an attack), but gets to toss the grenade before my Overwatch attack goes off simply because they have the higher Agi, it still makes sense to me that I get my Overwatch attack. Furthermore, as it triggered off an attack, and not a movement, the target is still standing where they were, so judging the roughly correct area to shoot is simple.

 

Second, and one thing I find interesting, is how the defending character in this situation is able to alter their Action, mid-Action, in order to be something that negates Overwatch.

 

In the case of ammo, what of backpack ammo supplies?

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Overwatch needs you to see that someone answer to your condition.

 

If the condition is ennemy getting in the killzone, and you don't see ennemies getting in the killzone, your condition isn't respected.

 

 

 

 
Therefore, it seems perfectly fine that if my trigger is "an enemy makes an attack in my killzone," and an enemy in my killzone uses a smoke grenade (technically an attack), but gets to toss the grenade before my Overwatch attack goes off simply because they have the higher Agi, it still makes sense to me that I get my Overwatch attack. Furthermore, as it triggered off an attack, and not a movement, the target is still standing where they were, so judging the roughly correct area to shoot is simple.

 

If the character is in a T corridor in the right upper part of the T, and your killzone is in the straight line from down part to upper part, the guy shoots a grenade without entering your killzone, it won't respect the condition. Or even if it is, well...go for it, shoot blindly.

 

Next ennemy will step in the killzone without you seeing him, and will throw grenades, shoot full auto in your direction, suppress fire or whatever, and you'll get to cover and loose your overwatch.

 

 

Second, and one thing I find interesting, is how the defending character in this situation is able to alter their Action, mid-Action, in order to be something that negates Overwatch.

 

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but if the character get into your killzone, you act first, end of the story, no? 

 

 

 

In the case of ammo, what of backpack ammo supplies?

 

Yeah, sure. How many time does this happen? When you go to war full equipped and not subtle at all. This happen, and maybe a lot (depends on group and GM), but in the end, if players are fully equipped to war, I consider it allright (and not an abuse of some rule) to be able to do their job. But a character with an ammo supply backpack will flash as an ennemy with a dangerous purpose in life. The kind of ennemy that gets hit fast.

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Overwatch

Type: Full Action

Subtypes: Attack, Concentration, Ranged

The active character guards a specific area or target, poised to shoot at an opportune moment. When Overwatch is declared, the active character establishes a kill zone consisting of any general area, such as a corridor or tree line, which encompasses a 45 [degree] arc in the direction that the active character is facing. The active character then specifies Standard Attack, Full Auto Burst, or Semi-Auto Burst, along with the conditions under which he will perform the chosen attack. Each any [sic] time the specified conditions are met before the start of the character's next turn, he can perform that attack (so long as he is otherwise eligible to do so). This attack occurs the moment the condition is met, such as an enemy entering the kill zone. If it occurs at the same time as another character's action, the character with the higher Agility acts first. If both characters have the same Agility, they make an Opposed Agility test to see who acts first. After the attack is resolved, even if it does not succeed, targets must immediately make a Challenging(+0) Pinning test or become pinned (see page 230) where they entered the kill zone. If a character on Overwatch performs any actions or Reactions, such as Evasion, his Overwatch immediately ends. Note this does not include Free Actions, such as speech.

 

"along with the conditions under which he will perform the chosen attack."

 

The enemy doesn't need to "enter" the killzone to be eligible for the attack, they merely need to be hitting the trigger while in the killzone.

 

Therefore, a valid trigger may be "a character performs an Action in my killzone." Part of my issue with the rule is that it makes no attempt to clarify or limit the trigger. It requires a constant rule 0 application each time the trigger is assigned. In some cases "a character performs an action" is a perfectly acceptable trigger, and in other cases, it is not. Determining this slows down play (GM has to make a decision rather than trust the rules work), engenders ill will towards the GM ("well you let me do this last time!"), as well as has the potential to accentuate a "mistake" by the GM (an inexperienced or poor GM may allow a condition that does result in the breakdown of the situation). Therefore, I do not believe it is a well written rule, and it is the responsibility of the designers to fix that.

 

Next,

"Each any [sic] time the specified conditions are met before the start of the character's next turn, he can perform that attack "

 

"Can perform" means that it is always an option to attack, not that they must attack. In the case of a flamethrower, a savvy player may wait until the opportunity to shoot multiple targets with Overwatch. A player holding their attack in this manner would also mean that it would take a GM who applies metagame knowledge to their NPCs to counter. Sure, they might give them perception checks to notice, but it seems unfair to the players desire to have a tactical advantage to cheat and say the NPCs see the attack coming. Again, this engenders ill will from the players towards the GM ("man, they always cheat and don't let us do anything "good""). The ability to choose when to make the Overwatch attack, combined with the already clarified potentially-as-many-rounds-in-your-weapon amount of attacks it can make means that it is wise to choose as broad a trigger condition as possible (unless of course again, we are requiring a strict and heavy handed application of rule 0). This is not a good rule. It requires the players to make some "choice" (identifying the condition), and then provides them with benefits such that there really is no need to make a choice with regards to the condition.

 

Sure, holding their attack may mean that they miss the opportunity to attack before their next turn, but it still means they were just only prevented from making the single attack they had during their last turn. Would I rather have a 100% chance at getting 5 points, or would I rather have a 30% chance at getting 20 points. Now sure, those numbers are about even, but what I'm trying to get at is that as written, and barring some extremely heavy handed GM tactics, it feels like Overwatch is the better choice, because the more basic attacks are, at the very least, a subset of the Overwatch attack option.

 

I would also counter this by asking this: What would you propose a player be doing instead in the same situation? Make their single attack? My point is that there is an inordinate amount of times where it seems that, as written, Overwatch would be the wiser form of attack, up to even using Overwatch when the enemy is clearly and directly in front of you.

 

In your T-Corridor example, you mention that the next couple enemies would do various forms of actions, and sure, those are all excellent ideas, but I would question why they would only do that if the player Overwatched. And at the very least, as long as the Overwatching player performs one attack, then their choice to Overwatch has been vindicated (unless they were forced to attack a sub-optimal target first). A single Overwatch attack, on its own, is plainly better than a normal attack. It pins and cannot be dodged. Why then, is it an issue what strategy the enemy would use after the first attack? It seems like it would be a good idea even if the players weren't Overwatching; that is to say, the strategy seems to be dictated more by their organization and quality of equipment than necessarily by the fact the players are using Overwatch.

 

 

My point about the changing of actions is in reference to some rather common counterpoints from people saying things like "Well if an NPC moves into an Overwatch killzone, but has the higher Agi, they'll just run and get through the other side of the killzone." The issue I have is that once the character has taken the action that is hitting the trigger, there isn't really any changing it. Even more, even if the acting character has a higher Agi than the Overwatching character, once the action is completed, the Overwatching character gets their attack before the acting character gets their next Half-Action. You can't move into a killzone, realize you're in a killzone, then drop a smoke grenade. Once you move into a killzone, you're being shot. Sure, they could throw the grenade into the killzone before moving in, but in many cases it begs the question of how did they know about the killzone.

 

Hell, technically, if the trigger for Overwatch is "a character acts in my killzone," they'll be shot once for walking in, and shot again for taking a half action (assuming of course, they weren't pinned by the initial attack, in which case they wouldn't even get the second half action).

 

 

I get it, I'm being overly passionate on this subject. But I just don't see how a rational player can defend the Overwatch action as it is written. It clearly allows for a comparatively broken form of gameplay given the rest of the rules. A rational player with knowledge of the rules will use Overwatch far more often than the writers of the rules seem to intend for Overwatch to be used. It is clear the intent of Overwatch is a way to provided readied ranged attacks; the concept of a machine gun nest watching a particular zone, the idea of someone standing there waiting for an unseen enemy to pop-out. It doesn't seem to be intended to be used against enemies that are already in sight. The way it is written though turns almost all forms of ranged attacks on their head. Any time a PC is stationary and about to make a ranged attack, it is absolutely (and I don't speak with such certainty normally) better for that player to consider making an Overwatch action instead of a standard ranged attack (Standard, Semi auto, or Full auto). Using the "delayed attack" action as a way of making a primary ranged attack against an enemy in visual range seems counter to the intended course of play. Note I don't say they should always Overwatch. Just simply that they should always consider using Overwatch (this distinction is important). My issue is that -considering- using the delayed attack action against an enemy that is already in sight for no reason other than simply the delayed attack being better, is broken. Delayed attacks are fine, especially if its a matter of intending for your allies to hit the target first, but in this case the matter is that the delayed attack itself is just more effective.

 

There is no value in defending it. Saying "my players don't abuse it" or "I won't let my players abuse it" does not resolve the issue, the rules still contain a broken component. Saying you house rule it doesn't solve the matter, the rules are still broken and new players will find the same issue. The system would be better off if it changed. What is there to gain? I've already quite clearly demonstrated that even the condition trigger rules for Overwatch are broken. If nothing else those clearly need to change. You cannot defend being required to identify a trigger, and then being able to choose to attack if the trigger occurs, as a valid or balanced rule. It isn't; it clearly can be broken by the idea of just choosing the broadest trigger possible, and then choosing to not attack when it is convenient.

Edited by KommissarK

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 Any time a PC is stationary and about to make a ranged attack, it is absolutely (and I don't speak with such certainty normally) better for that player to consider making an Overwatch action instead of a standard ranged attack (Standard, Semi auto, or Full auto). Using the "delayed attack" action as a way of making a primary ranged attack against an enemy in visual range seems counter to the intended course of play. 

 

I've yet to get a satisfactory response to my earlier assertion that, perhaps, Overwatch is supposed to be this good. I'm not entirely certain that anyone is denying that Overwatch appears to be broken, so I can't help but infer that there's a distinct possibility that it is supposed to be that good.

 

If, for example, you want to threaten someone but shoot anyone who "tries anything", what options do you have?

 

Delay doesn't work; your opponent gets to perform his entire turn before you get a chance to shoot him.

Use a Skill (Intimidate) might get him to surrender, but it's a Full-Action. You won't be shooting anyone this turn.

 

Overwatch works. Overwatch is so good, in fact, that no-one "under the sights" is going to even twitch for fear of getting blown away. From a gameplay perspective, Overwatch in this circumstance is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. If it wasn't that good, it wouldn't be doing the job it's supposed to.

 

Don't look at what you think Overwatch is supposed to be doing, look at what it's actually capable of in gameplay terms as they relate to in-character terms. I've said it before; under artificially engineered circumstances, yes, the rule is broken...but when are those artificial circumstances ever going to occur? One session in ten? Twenty? Ever? I'm betting on the latter.

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