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Dangerbutton

Deadlier Combat — An Alternative to Wounds

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One of my favorite aspects of Rogue Trader is Critical Damage system.It adds a lot of flavor to combat, and it further immerses you in the brutality of the Warhammer universe.

 

However, I hate the system for Wounds.

 

Wounds are really just a measurement of how much more damage needs to be dealt before interesting things happen. Why not have interesting things happen the whole time? Why can't critical damage come into play from the beginning?

 

In an upcoming campaign, I'm going to try some house rules to change wounds and critical damage.

 

- 1) There are no more Wounds. Players don't have wounds, NPCs don't have wounds.

- 2) The Critical Damage tables are expanded, ranging from 1-20 instead of 1-10. Each result that is currently on the table will count for two points of critical damage (for example, the first result would be for 1-2 damage, the next result would be 3-4 damage, and so on). At some future point, however, I would like to write up results for all 20 points of critical damage.

- 3) Critical Damage is no longer cumulative — at least not in the way that it was. The first time a character takes damage, you'll apply it to the critical damage table, as normal. The second time they take damage, count it as normal, but then increase the result by one. The third time you increase it by two, then three, then four, and so on. This means that each attack that hits you isn't necessarily going to be worse than the previous attack, but several smaller attacks will still be able to wear down and eventually kill a character.

 

Let's look at an example:

 

Tristan Orthesian, a Rank 1 Rogue Trader, gets shot by a bolt gun. The damage rolled is 12. His Enforcer Light Carapace, after being reduced by the Bolt Gun's Pen 4, stops 2 of the damage, and his Toughness Bonus stops 3 of the damage. In the end, that's still 7 damage. Via the official rules, that wouldn't even get through the 8 Wounds that he has; he'd be unaffected by the shot. With these house rules, though, it would immediately deal critical damage. 7 points of damage would get him the fourth result on the damage table (the result for 7-8). In this case, he was shot in the arm. He suffers fatigue and shock, and the arm is rendered useless until he receives medical attention. Much more impact than the regular rules.

 

Tristan gets attacked a second time, this time from a Chainsword dealing 11 damage. After armor and toughness are applied, he's taking only 4 damage. That would cause him to suffer the second result on the damage table, had this been the first time he was wounded in that battle. As he's already suffered critical damage once, we increase the result by one, so he instead suffers the third result on the damage table. It wasn't as bad as the first damage he took, but the fact that he'd already taken damage made it worse than it would have been, otherwise.

 

 

---

 

There will be some features and abilities that need adjusting to fit this, such as the Sound Constitution talent. The removal of wounds from the equation makes that talent pointless. We could change it to something else, though. Perhaps you can use your Sound Constitution talent to lower the damage result by one. You can use it a number of times per encounter equal to how many times you've taken the talent. Something like that. There are also some things that affect starting Wounds. To compensate for that, maybe we just give the Sound Constitution talent, as modified by these house rules, to those characters who would have higher starting Wounds.

 

 

What do you all think of this set of rules? Any glaring flaws? Any improvements that could be made?

 

I know this isn't everyone's preferred style of play. Some people like the safety net that a pool of hit points provides. Some people like to have "boss fight" enemies that take a prolonged combat to gradually bring them down.

 

I don't like that. I like people to die. Quick and bloody.

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A game utilizing this system will be burning aggressively through Fate Points ... at least until the players decide to each bring a squad or more of the best household troops they can get at all times, and just flood hostile areas with troops instead of doing things personally.

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This is definitely a possibility, as the point of this house rule is to increase the risk involved in combat.

 

If the players' response would be to just send in the troops rather than dealing with combat personally, then such a house rule is not for them.

Keep in mind, however, that this will make the enemies more vulnerable, as well. If the average enemy goes down in one or two hits, that means they'll have less time to cause hurt to the players.

 

My first introduction to roleplaying games was The Riddle of Steel, which was designed for realistic combat, and was a whole lot more deadly that the Rogue Trader system. We'd have some players that had to roll a new character after just about every other game. That has strongly influenced my tastes in RPGs, so I'm always looking for a more deadly game.

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A game utilizing this system will be burning aggressively through Fate Points ... at least until the players decide to each bring a squad or more of the best household troops they can get at all times, and just flood hostile areas with troops instead of doing things personally.

Perfectly reasonable. PCs are leaders of vast trade empire, not frontline armsmen or first-in squad.

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