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Professor Tanhauser

Deathwatch: By the rules or cinematic?

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OK, kind if annunspecific question here but you'll see where I!m going with this.

When running dw, do you go strictly by the rules or do you sometimes say ''forget the rules, I'm doing something that's cool!'' Or ''Bob had a great idea but there really aren't rules for it, but I think I'll let it work just because it's so cool and seems to fit the 40k setting really good!''

One idea might be while fighting necrons. The DW let's loose with an awesome fussilade of fire that cuts down the grand necton poobah's warrior squad, but the lord is still standing and raises his ressurection orb, which begins pulsing with eldreitch green light, and slowly his fallen minions begin to regenerate their damage. Even tho it's not in the turn sequence a player says he's going to try to shoot the orb out of the lord's hand and destroy it.

Sounds cool, sounds like something that would be in a 40k story. sure there isn't a rule for it over sex the RO isn't listed in terms of armor and hp, you can extrapolate it's size at about a human head or so for size mod. So do you let him go a it regardless of the rules because it's cool or sick to the rules?

Now I'm not likely to let this go to far. You're generally not going to take out a Titan with a bolter no matter how dramatic it would be. But if someone we're to, say, make a called strike to a necron's neck (no pun intended) and roll a great his with like power weapon and sever it, then say he furiously kicks the head away before it could reattsch to the body, or he jams a grenade into a nids wide open mouth then rolls away I might let if work if he rolled pretty good and spent s fste point.

So how do you feel on frbdibg the rules for the same if good story, dramatic action or just because t 'feels' like 40k.

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OK, kind if annunspecific question here but you'll see where I!m going with this.

When running dw, do you go strictly by the rules or do you sometimes say ''forget the rules, I'm doing something that's cool!'' Or ''Bob had a great idea but there really aren't rules for it, but I think I'll let it work just because it's so cool and seems to fit the 40k setting really good!''

One idea might be while fighting necrons. The DW let's loose with an awesome fussilade of fire that cuts down the grand necton poobah's warrior squad, but the lord is still standing and raises his ressurection orb, which begins pulsing with eldreitch green light, and slowly his fallen minions begin to regenerate their damage. Even tho it's not in the turn sequence a player says he's going to try to shoot the orb out of the lord's hand and destroy it.

Sounds cool, sounds like something that would be in a 40k story. sure there isn't a rule for it over sex the RO isn't listed in terms of armor and hp, you can extrapolate it's size at about a human head or so for size mod. So do you let him go a it regardless of the rules because it's cool or sick to the rules?

Now I'm not likely to let this go to far. You're generally not going to take out a Titan with a bolter no matter how dramatic it would be. But if someone we're to, say, make a called strike to a necron's neck (no pun intended) and roll a great his with like power weapon and sever it, then say he furiously kicks the head away before it could reattsch to the body, or he jams a grenade into a nids wide open mouth then rolls away I might let if work if he rolled pretty good and spent s fste point.

So how do you feel on frbdibg the rules for the same if good story, dramatic action or just because t 'feels' like 40k.

 

 

The question on whether a player can react to any action like that is to ask yourself what have they done in that round? If they have spent that entire combat turn blazing away bolter shells into necrons left, right and center, would they really have the focus (or even the time) to whip round and take a shot at the lord? Remember that a round of combat in this system is supposed to represent around 6 seconds. Your six seconds is you making your attack and reacting to the options of everyone else. It's not simply you move and do what you want, then the next person goes etc, no everyone is more or less acting at the same time but some people are just that little bit faster off the mark. If in your example you might feel he would be too focused given what he's done to feasibly be able to take a shot then you are within your rights and say:

 

"Look mate, you've spent your entire action shooting Necron scarabs behind you. I don't think you can argue that you can turn around and snap shot this feasibly. You might be able to make the shot but it wouldn't be aimed, wouldn't be that stable so no."

 

Maybe you would still allow it though, depends what happened before then. That's something for you to decide as to what seems feasible for them to get away with in six seconds. My suggestion would be that as long as whatever house ruling you make on the rule of cool can be applied to players if they meet the necessary prerequisites then I see no issue with it. By adding a house rule of cool you manipulate the game universe in a specific manner to suit your campaign, altering the reality of the game in such a way. As a result other creatures within that universe may also be able to benefit from this universal change. So in your example if you allowed a player to shoot a resurrection orb out of a necron lord's hand when the rules don't specifically say you can, well this has changed the rules of that reality and it means that you can use the same tactic yourself and have a Necron try to gauss blast a weapon from someone and disarm them. One rule for them, the same rule for you as the GM. 

 

The problem with special characters and boss level opponents is that if they have to comply with the same action limitations as a player then it is really difficult for them to make any actual gains on the player or to make it a challenge without massive wounds or HP. They will have to expend their entire turn to do their grand useful action and miss out on doing anything actually defensive/offensive. For example a lord may only have one or two attacks a round and is being ganged up on by a half dozen marines. Special character or not he does not have enough reactions to dodge everything, parry everything, hit everyone around him and will just be whittled down by attrition.

 

This is why current iterations of D&D for example (and possibly some older ones) allowed specific boss level mobs and special characters to have Legendary Actions, specific actions which may be taken outside of their turn order and sometimes reacting directly after the players own. An Ancient Red Dragon for example has it's normal number of attacks on its own turn which it gets to enjoy. It then may have up to three legendary actions per round that it can perform which it may choose to use after each player turn. It has the following it can use each round of combat

 

1 - Free perception/detection check

2 - Free melee tail attack

3 - At the cost of two of it's three legendary action points it may use its wings to blow enemies back and take flight.

 

I don't think DW or any of the other systems should be any different to this in allowing specialist characters, especially if it is a named antagonist/villain to make use of these abilities and there are times where I have granted these legendary abilities to specific NPC opponents. It's a **** enemy officer and leader, of course it's going to be good at what it does and have a few nasty tricks up its sleeve! I'd make your resurrection orb a legendary action with a recharge of a number of rounds.

 

So rule of cool is a good thing but it has to be monitored and kept under control to prevent people from taking the piss with it.

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I mostly stick to the rules but with a fairly liberal interpretation of those. I will hear out questions about more unusual actions though.

 

The way I see it, even by the books, Deathwatch marines are capable of feats that normal humans wouldn't have a hope of replicating. I'd call that impressive in itself.

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I'd say it depends on the situation. Rule of cool is fun for all, most of the time (that's how the real epic stories are born). But I'd only allow it, if the players are facing/have faced a real challenge, so it doesn't feel to easy for them. If the fight with the necrons already took a fate, or at least brought some marines into crit, I'd be fine with rule of cool. If they just slaughtered the necrons down, and the lords needs to revive them to stand a chance, I'd maybe apply some kind of rule of cool for the lord ;)

 

Besides, there is a rule for slamming grenades into nid mouths (have a look at Tyranic War Veteran in First Founding).

Edited by Avdnm

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The way I see it, even by the books, Deathwatch marines are capable of feats that normal humans wouldn't have a hope of replicating. I'd call that impressive in itself.

 

Indeed. Or even "normal" Deathwatch Space Marines, for that matter.

 

RAW already provides a lot of cinematic embellishment by default, such as the incredible bonuses from Squad Modes or what amounts to free Fate you get just by roleplaying Demeanours (stuff that'd be normal in other games). From shrugging off lascannon hits without suffering a single Wound (by magically dispersing the damage from this single hit to the entire squad) to juggling CSM Terminator and battle tanks (by activating stacking boosts to Strength and combining them with hilariously broken Lifting & Carrying rules), it seems clear that the game has always been trying to embrace the legend of the Astartes more than how they'd actually perform as per the tabletop. And that's before we take the problematic Toughness soak into account, which is enough of an issue in DH already but outright breaks crossover compatibility with Deathwatch.

 

None of this is actually a problem, of course, as it's one of many valid and undoubtedly very popular interpretations of the game world.

 

But if this still isn't heroic enough, how about tweaking the rules to make these moments of badassery more common? To be honest, I would rather advocate against a playstyle where people can just do what they want, as by this point you can just drop the entire ruleset and turn it into a chat RPG based purely on narrative descriptions. Which is totally possible as well; I've played several of such games over the years. But when you have a book like the Deathwatch RPG, I'd stick to an established set of rules, even houseruled ones, just so that everyone is aware of this mutually agreed-upon common ground.

 

For example, in response to the example put forward in the opening post, how about allowing players to spend a Fate Point to perform a single bonus Action at any time in combat, even outside their own turn? Or burn a Fate Point to perform an Action with a hefty bonus (something like +30, where success is likely but still not guaranteed if the player is pushing it too much by invoking various negative modifiers via called shots or extreme range etc). :)

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I have my preferred level of "over the top", which is pretty much the Deathwatch rules used intelligently by players. For example, I'm amazed that any groups would refuse to use squad mode abilities.

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I have my preferred level of "over the top", which is pretty much the Deathwatch rules used intelligently by players. For example, I'm amazed that any groups would refuse to use squad mode abilities.

That depends on the tactical situation. In some cases a squad\s individual abilities may be more effective than their team abilities, maybe the players just make the call as to which set of abilities they feel is moire effective at the time.

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I have my preferred level of "over the top", which is pretty much the Deathwatch rules used intelligently by players. For example, I'm amazed that any groups would refuse to use squad mode abilities.

That depends on the tactical situation. In some cases a squad\s individual abilities may be more effective than their team abilities, maybe the players just make the call as to which set of abilities they feel is moire effective at the time.

 

 

Oh sure. What I'm referring to are groups that don't use them at all. I know people who've had trouble convincing other DW players of the merits of squad mode abilities.

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To be fair, they do seem a bit "chunky" -- you can't just keep piling up rules and expect everyone to just get with the program. Together with the 42983756 special rules for implants, this may well have been the breaking point for those groups.

 

And then there may also be some players who might think they are just a bit OTT for their personal taste.

 

All of this should ideally be discussed before the actual game, tho, with players voicing their thoughts and opinions on that sort of stuff before everyone gets going. Did those people actually ask the other players how they felt about it as soon as they noticed this? What did they say?

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My players won't even READ the rules, let alone discuss them. (except one guy, who only complains about them). I told them all to at least read up on space marine abilities, because I have enough to remember. We'd been through 5 or 6 sessions before they clued into the "True Grit" ability and it's affect on critical hits. Oh well, fate points are easy to get, right?

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To be fair, they do seem a bit "chunky" -- you can't just keep piling up rules and expect everyone to just get with the program. Together with the 42983756 special rules for implants, this may well have been the breaking point for those groups.

 

And then there may also be some players who might think they are just a bit OTT for their personal taste.

 

All of this should ideally be discussed before the actual game, tho, with players voicing their thoughts and opinions on that sort of stuff before everyone gets going. Did those people actually ask the other players how they felt about it as soon as they noticed this? What did they say?

 

 

The impression I got was the player I know used squad mode abilities, and they were amazed at the results he was getting. But still didn't use the abilities themselves. Complexity is probably the reason.

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My players won't even READ the rules, let alone discuss them. (except one guy, who only complains about them). I told them all to at least read up on space marine abilities, because I have enough to remember. We'd been through 5 or 6 sessions before they clued into the "True Grit" ability and it's affect on critical hits. Oh well, fate points are easy to get, right?

 

Oh ouch.

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My players won't even READ the rules, let alone discuss them. (except one guy, who only complains about them). I told them all to at least read up on space marine abilities, because I have enough to remember. We'd been through 5 or 6 sessions before they clued into the "True Grit" ability and it's affect on critical hits. Oh well, fate points are easy to get, right?

 

Oh ouch.

 

34 sessions of Black crusade and my noisemarine player still didn't know how to spend XP without me walking him through it.

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Some my players play ADnD with me for almost 20 years and even now they can't create characters without help. Not that it bothers me, honestly.

 

 

 

 

My players won't even READ the rules, let alone discuss them. (except one guy, who only complains about them). I told them all to at least read up on space marine abilities, because I have enough to remember. We'd been through 5 or 6 sessions before they clued into the "True Grit" ability and it's affect on critical hits. Oh well, fate points are easy to get, right?

 

Oh ouch.

 

34 sessions of Black crusade and my noisemarine player still didn't know how to spend XP without me walking him through it.

 

 

If you guys need another player let me know. I will help you guys out in Black Cursade or ADnD 

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