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TheWorldSmith

"Skin-Armour" and the dislike for it?

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No one has one of those in my games yet, so I'm not familiar with the crunch of them, but I hope they're horrific! I'm tenatively about to grant one of them a power sword. Their subtlety is shot to crap anyway and the enemy threat level is going to escalate anyway so I'm probably going to let them have one,

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I feel like letting Penetration ignore Toughness bonus just exacerbates the situation -- in that case TB is functionally identical to armor!

 

It also doesn't make sense to me from a narrative standpoint. Armor-piercing bullets will actually do less damage to an unarmored target than regular bullets because of over penetration. Essentially, the armor-piercing round will pass straight through the target without transferring much energy, while the regular bullet will stop in the target and cause the maximum amount of harm.

 

On top of that, high Pen weapons provide an important balancing tool for letting the DM deal with armor-stacking players without instantly turning other characters to paste. When the Mechanicus character is fully equipped with Astra Militarum carapace and subskin armor, the DM should occasionally use hellguns or other high-Pen weapons to pierce this protection. The Penetration will ignore the armor of less tanky PCs, but since the weapon damage isn't actually that high the other players don't need to worry about dying in one shot. 

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I feel like letting Penetration ignore Toughness bonus just exacerbates the situation -- in that case TB is functionally identical to armor!

 

It also doesn't make sense to me from a narrative standpoint. Armor-piercing bullets will actually do less damage to an unarmored target than regular bullets because of over penetration. Essentially, the armor-piercing round will pass straight through the target without transferring much energy, while the regular bullet will stop in the target and cause the maximum amount of harm.

 

On top of that, high Pen weapons provide an important balancing tool for letting the DM deal with armor-stacking players without instantly turning other characters to paste. When the Mechanicus character is fully equipped with Astra Militarum carapace and subskin armor, the DM should occasionally use hellguns or other high-Pen weapons to pierce this protection. The Penetration will ignore the armor of less tanky PCs, but since the weapon damage isn't actually that high the other players don't need to worry about dying in one shot. 

 

Not going to say you're wrong per se, every GM runs their games differently but for the sake of discussion I'll address the points as they pertain to my specific playstyle:

 

1. It's better than toughness being better than armour. It's the lesser of two evils.

 

2. This has merit. I have a degree in Forensic Science and my dissertation centered on ballistics (toolmarks specifically, but I digress). Armour piercing rounds are much less effective at killing, because they generally pass straight through a target. The round doesn't deform, so it creates less of a pressure wave (which is what kills you and why hollow points are so effective against unarmoured targets). However, the combat system doesn't distinguish between penetration types. What is true for a solid round would not necessarily be true for other weapon types (melta weapons, plasma weapons etc). Nevertheless, we find ourselves with a similiar situation to above. I prefer to choose the lesser of two evils. With RAW, the female arbitrator in my group is able to head butt bullets as effectively as a carapace helmet. 

 

3. Again, fine if that's how people want to run their games. But that is somewhat gamey for the games I run (plus, personally, the extra armoured players in my game tend to stick out and make themselves a target for the more heavily armed enemies ;) I should probably note however, I don't allow PEN to affect things such as Unnatural Toughness, that's for felling weapons.

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Just some thoughts and math on Subskin Armor / Mechanicus

 

Skin Armor (+2) + say Cranial Armor (+1) = +3 Soak to Head before Toughness & Armor

Skin Armor (+2) + Limb Replacement (+2) = +4 Soak to Limbs

Skin Armor (+2) + Bionic Heart (+1) = +3 Soak to Body

 

AVG Toughness of 3 + AVG Armor or 3 = 6

 

Head: 9

Body: 9

Limbs: 10

 

Aka "roar"

 

*They should have made Subskin Armor an AdMech only thing for 2nd Edition (there's nothing "tanky" or superior about them in 2nd edition)

 

What ever happened to?

 

Machine (x)

A creature with this trait is fashioned from inorganic materials and is generally more rigorous then fleshy beings. Machines do not breathe, are immune to vacuum, extremes of cold, and mind-influencing psychic effects. Machines have a certain number of Armour points (indicated by the number in parentheses). This armour stacks with worn armour, but not with the Natural Armour trait, and can damage from Fire (see page 243).

 

I guess being a full-conversion cyborg doesnt count for jack...

 

Page 137

 

Cranial Circuitry

Cyber-Mantle

Electro-Graft

Electroo Inductors
Potentia Coil

 

Aka big whoop > they only feataure "flavor" text and bear no game mechanic advantages ?!

Edited by MorbidDon

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Oh boy, one of my favourite topics! :P
 
As has already been pointed out, the controversy is based on some players perceiving TB-based damage reduction as unrealistic, and in some ways flat-out broken. Given how the Penetration mechanic does not apply to Toughness, one might even argue that a trained body provides superior protection to a suit of armour, which just feels like a weird notion to me.
 
Once you couple TB with AP, however, the combined resilience can easily jump past appropriate levels, especially late game after people have purchased several Toughness Advances or Traits to this effect. The lasgun is easily one of the most recognisable guns in the entire IP -- don't tell me you're not sad to see it effectively disappear from play just because it becomes a liability as soon as your targets start wearing carapace!
 
It's also worth noting how much TB has messed up the various product lines, leading to the designers scrambling to implement band-aid fixes rather than addressing the root source of the problem. Take Deathwatch, for example. Awkward enough that it took a player to point out how the Space Marine NPC in Black Industry's Dark Heresy adventure "Purge the Unclean" was effectively unkillable. For the DW RPG, Fantasy Flight's team had to address this problem, and the solution they came up with was (a) Horde multipliers and (b) separate weapon classes.
 
The latter introduced an unrealistic gap between ordinary and Astartes guns for the sole purpose of making sure that Deathwatch players could actually reliably fight their Chaos Space Marine counterparts, for normal boltgun values kind of suck against the excessive TB+AP you see at play here. Needless to say, this further lowered cross-game compatibility, but I'll get back to that in a moment.
 
The former effectively introduced a "IT'S MAGIC!" rule where a weapon system somehow becomes individually more powerful by being used in groups: 10 lasguns fired by a Horde of nameless mooks will suddenly receive a special damage bonus, whereas the same 10 lasguns fired by a group of named NPCs will not. I don't know about you people, but I would like some more consistency and degrees of realism in the games I play, rather than situational modifiers completely changing the way something works with no good explanation other than "balancing".
 
And let's not forget that Horde damage bonuses have also been criticised for being extremely risky: adding one or more dice to an enemy's damage not only increases their threat, but also makes it harder to quantify. How can you as a GM plan with enemies who might do anything from 3-30 damage? I do not think it's very fun if the range of damage is so large that it covers anything from "it didn't even tickle" to "one-hit kill".
 
Let's get back to cross-game compatibility. With Black Crusade, FFG has released a game that sees Space Marines operate alongside normal (well, more or less) Humans. Obviously, there was the issue of already powerful characters somehow also having more powerful gear now, but in a repeat of earlier design concepts we also got to see Horde rules being refined into a tiered version that actually works differently depending on whether the target of the Horde is a (Chaos) Space Marine or a Human. That's right: the attack actually deals damage not only based on your character's inherent biological values (Toughness) and equipped wargear (Armor), but also whether or not you belong to a special class. At this point, people might ask themselves if CSM and Human Heretics are actually playing the same game.
 
So what we see here is what I'd consider a base flaw of the game being curated and preserved through several iterations and editions of the rules, even though it kept throwing up all sorts of little issues left and right, which were then addressed with "fixes" that have continuously lowered the levels of consistency and realism.
 
Instead of, y'know, simply doing it like Games Workshop did with their d100 game Inquisitor, and using the Toughness value to lower the extent of injuries, rather than preventing them entirely. Because the best-trained body cannot stop a bullet -- but it may well be feasible that it'll be capable of dealing with getting shot a bit better than normal.

 

The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

 

If this were the case, damage calculation should be affected entirely by the shooter's accuracy, yet a good hit doesn't actually carry through to how much damage it does. Doesn't it strike you as weird and unintuitive that an attack that barely hit its target can somehow do a "bullseye", yet rolling a perfect 1 is supposed to result in a "glancing blow"?

 

But the problem is bigger than that, anyways. Even with high damage rolls, the combination of AP and TB quickly grows so large that it invalidates a lot of the most classic weapons. For a game like Dark Heresy I consider this a problem. Famous characters of the franchise like Kal Jericho have great success with weapons that would get ditched immediately in a game here simply because of how awful they are against high-TB targets.

 

On a sidenote, I also remain convinced that we only have a separate dice roll for damage because somebody thought they had to emulate D&D.

 

Regarding the second point... I'm sorry, but I've never understood the need for realism in a setting containing space wizards, undead Egyptian robots and things yet sillier. The combat system is perfect for recreating the kind of combat encounters your usual 80's action hero would partake in - which is perfect given 40k's range of inspirations. Tough guys survive stuff that kills less tough guys, that's the gist of it.

 

There is a term called "fantastic realism", used to denote a certain degree of feasibility and expectations, rules even, for a setting even though it contains elements that are obvious fantasy and action tropes. Yes, we may have space wizards and undead Egyptian robots, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that any setting still needs to have certain rules, especially considering that this is an RPG based on a franchise full of stories where we get to see said rules in action.

 

Indeed, the way Toughness Bonus works right now undermines the setting by actively sabotaging stories and characters that, in their original form, simply would not have a place here.

 

Furthermore, I firmly believe that the real 80s action hero is the one that manages to get the job done even if he (or she) ends up a bloody wreck -- and not because they are somehow invincible to their enemies' weapons.

 

It's why I keep pointing to GW's Inquisitor: Instead of directly negating damage, Toughness there acts as a "buffer" between Injury levels. Anything that goes through your armour immediately creates an Injury, your body merely dictates how bad it'll be. Which means Space Marines are not the bullet-resistant supermen they are here, but rather that their modified physiology will reduce still-received Injuries to a level where, instead of lying down and dying, they end up being a crawling mess of bloodied flesh with multiple Injuries on all body zones that still manages to move forward and capture that hill. Just like in the opening cinematic of the first Dawn of War game.

 

That is heroic. Compared to that, shrugging off bullets like Superman comes across as a bit childish, but that's just my opinion. :P

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Can't it just be somehow tied to fatigue then? As in, giving the player the possibility to reduce damage, but also taking fatigue points (internal bleeding, impact shock, ...). The TB determines how much damage is blocked for every fatigue point suffered. 

 

I still view the TB as how resilient somebody is against the kinetic energy discharges when things like bullets hit the armor worn by that person. It's not because you're wearing kevlar that you won't feel a thing when you get hit basically.

 

So yeah, for me, TB damage reduction are either flesh wounds/minor scratches as a bullet went by or being able to coop with the impact effect when wearing armor and getting hit directly, not "skin armor".

Edited by Gridash

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So yeah, for me, TB damage reduction are either flesh wounds/minor scratches as a bullet went by or being able to coop with the impact effect when wearing armor and getting hit directly, not "skin armor".

 

But isn't this how we are already justifying the idea of "Wounds" before incurring Injuries? ;)

 

I dunno, something about making accuracy depend on a target's hardness rather than the shooter's skill just doesn't sit right with me. As a sniper I'd feel kind of silly when the game says I'm not hitting well enough even after rolling a 1 -- but this goes back to my earlier criticism in regards to damage being rolled independently, which is kind of a different topic, albeit somewhat related.

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2. I don't care how much your character has worked out. When you start bouncing bolter shells off your gloriously developed but naked pectoral muscles, I have a real problem with it. A bit hyperbolic but you get my drift.

This specific example is a problem with stat ranges.

 

What would make Toughness matter, but significantly different from armour is: several damage tracks (like e.g. in Alternity), with Toughness "downgrading" damage.

I guess you could adapt it in d10, using Critical > Wounds > Non-lethal as Fatigue.

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Maybe they would get further if they said "Toughness bonus applies ONLY when not wearing armor on that location. Let's be fair, IG are basically wearing the reinforced cardboard boxes their tanks were air-lifted inside of, but that's mostly Cadians, by appearance. Many other regiments, however, don't look like they are even wearing THAT! You are a Catachan Guardsman; you're wearing no more armor than Rambo's own pants, and a wife-beater the Arbites confiscated off the most recent guests of C.O.P.S.: Imperial Edition. I don't know if I've ever seen one of Straken's boys wear actual flak armor, to say nothing of carapace armor (Sergeant Harker, the other named Cata-character, even disallows this, by his very presence), yet I'm supposed to believe that these raving Rambos are as safe as the Cadians? Other regiments, in their appearance, fail here, too. Eylsians need to be light, i think it's the Mordians, just wear nice, blue uniforms; those don't look very reinforced. The Kriegers don't care if they die, but they often seem like the only armor they toss on is their "not even still on Krieg" gas masks.

 

The point I'm trying to make is, maybe, skin armor should only apply to you when no other armor is present. If you put other armor on, you get its probably better than your TB value, and it's probably easier to ramp that armor up, than to pay for your progressively more expensive Toughness advances, but you put up with the pitfalls, too. Star Wars used to do it, and then kept it, up to a point, with talents. This helped explain why, barring Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and virtually no one else who mattered, no one wore armor, in Star Wars; their level bonus was superior to the armor's value, after prestige levels were reached. So, let's say you still have some resistance, even unarmored, and if you are a particularly meaty specimen, you might even shrug off the shots of what others wear carapace for, but most people will probably never break 40 Toughness, and for them they wear armor, to shore up their mortal flesh. If the Catachan are a hardier breed, and often have higher Toughness, they can shrug off what flak is for, and not wear any, as they don't appear to, despite the rules, and break out the armor for worse things, while the more run-of-the-mill 30 T humans, who want to avoid some nasty damage, can break out the flak, the carapace, or whatever their money can cover. Certainly not perfect, but it might've been better than "stacking bonuses", and one being pierce-proof.

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The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

 

If this were the case, damage calculation should be affected entirely by the shooter's accuracy, yet a good hit doesn't actually carry through to how much damage it does. Doesn't it strike you as weird and unintuitive that an attack that barely hit its target can somehow do a "bullseye", yet rolling a perfect 1 is supposed to result in a "glancing blow"?

 

 

This is incorrect. You can substitute a damage die in the roll with the number of Degrees of Success you have. It's an often-overlooked rule, but it's there.

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The notion of "skin armor" is a consequence of people treating an attack roll and a damage roll as two sequential but separate events in the game's narrative, rather than a single event with a two-step system for determining the outcome. 

 

Nobody's actually deflecting bolts with their oiled pecs - if the shot hits but does minimal/no damage, it wasn't a clear hit, no matter what the attack roll tells you.

 

If this were the case, damage calculation should be affected entirely by the shooter's accuracy, yet a good hit doesn't actually carry through to how much damage it does. Doesn't it strike you as weird and unintuitive that an attack that barely hit its target can somehow do a "bullseye", yet rolling a perfect 1 is supposed to result in a "glancing blow"?

 

 

This is incorrect. You can substitute a damage die in the roll with the number of Degrees of Success you have. It's an often-overlooked rule, but it's there.

 

 

That rule is useful but unfortunately it only really serves to highlight the random elements of the damage dice. You would need an impeccably good shot to get a lot of DoS to counteract a low damage roll whereas a "glancing blow" can get lucky and score righteous fury. The swingyness of the dice also don't help for called shots where you try and remove the random elements of the hit by targeting a specific body part, which unfortunately grants no bonus in RAW to the damage or injuries that you inflict. Heck, the penalties that you suffer for doing called shots without talents actually counteract the substitution rule and grant no real benefit aside from targeting an armourless location, which doesn't really help against enemies with the same armour across all body parts.

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In addition to the above, that rule (which is a good one, and yes it isn't nearly known well enough) does not exist in all editions of the game but is a rather late edition -- and it hinges on a high number of DoS which in turn necessitate a certain minimum gap between what you roll and the target's difficulty as set by the GM.

 

In other words: you could nail the most impossibly insane shot, but you won't get the benefit of damage die adjustment if the Test difficulty was so high that you only score one or two DoS even though you rolled, say, a 2. It's actually kind of realistic that randomness increases the harder a shot gets, but it still feels "doubled down" considering that we end up with two Tests being rolled for just one result ("on a scale from zero to X, how much damage did I do?").

Edited by Lynata

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Maybe they would get further if they said "Toughness bonus applies ONLY when not wearing armor on that location.

You are either clinging to the concept you don't like or just randomly LEGOing variables together now. :)

To demonstrate how this isn't a good idea: this would mean that when an Ogryn puts a flak wrap on, his damage reduction decreases.

 

Many other regiments, however, don't look like they are even wearing THAT! You are a Catachan Guardsman; you're wearing no more armor than Rambo's own pants, and a wife-beater the Arbites confiscated off the most recent guests of C.O.P.S.: Imperial Edition. I don't know if I've ever seen one of Straken's boys wear actual flak armor, to say nothing of carapace armor (Sergeant Harker, the other named Cata-character, even disallows this, by his very presence), yet I'm supposed to believe that these raving Rambos are as safe as the Cadians? Other regiments, in their appearance, fail here, too. Eylsians need to be light,

Flak vest, etc. At least, 40kRP made it more sane than this was in 40k.

 

That rule is useful but unfortunately it only really serves to highlight the random elements of the damage dice. You would need an impeccably good shot to get a lot of DoS to counteract a low damage roll whereas a "glancing blow" can get lucky and score righteous fury. The swingyness of the dice also don't help for called shots where you try and remove the random elements of the hit by targeting a specific body part, which unfortunately grants no bonus in RAW to the damage or injuries that you inflict. Heck, the penalties that you suffer for doing called shots without talents actually counteract the substitution rule and grant no real benefit aside from targeting an armourless location, which doesn't really help against enemies with the same armour across all body parts.

Well, yes. What else it could do other than being a normal hit that a random hit to the same location doesn't?

To have creatures slow down a little when they get hit in a leg, and roll T vs. being dazed when hit on the helmet? Sure, but let's face it: this would be de facto a low-grade critical effect system for non-RF hits. At this point, why have two separate? You could well just extend CH charts and use them or all wounds, or something like this.

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Just a thought in regards to "great" DoS rolls > maybe you could apply each "success" as minimum 1 point of damage to the roll...

I am only mentioning this to remedy both TB soak + really good "hit rolls" as Lynata pointed out about using a sniper example.

 

Morbid

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Just a thought in regards to "great" DoS rolls > maybe you could apply each "success" as minimum 1 point of damage to the roll...

I am only mentioning this to remedy both TB soak + really good "hit rolls" as Lynata pointed out about using a sniper example.

 

Morbid

 

Isn't that basically what it is already? Except before the damage modifiers, so it's even better? :D

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At this point, why have two separate? You could well just extend CH charts and use them or all wounds, or something like this.

 

Indeed. Like how "Inquisitor" did it! :P

 

Isn't that basically what it is already? Except before the damage modifiers, so it's even better? :D

 

Yeah. The problem is the disconnect between accuracy and damage rolls; you can have barely hit and still score a bullseye damage-wise, and vice-versa can roll the best result possible and still have the damage roll result in 100% soak just because the difficulty was so high that you "only" have like 2-3 DoS.

 

It's just another example of why band-aids help, but should not be preferable to overhauling a mechanic that has a problem at the base.

Edited by Lynata

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Just remember Lynata > I did submit a DoS damage system that got rid of rolling for damage...

 

On a side note > please take down my email address in my profile guys if you're ever looking for another player > I'd like to hang up my GM's hat for a bit and try to be a player again > hasn't been a "player" in any game system for over 15 years now LOL

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Yeah. The problem is the disconnect between accuracy and damage rolls; you can have barely hit and still score a bullseye damage-wise

 

Yeah, but this is how it works in real life: you have two different things - shooter skills and the accuracy of the weapon. Even for lasguns you'll have dispersion and non-linear absorption by atmosphere.

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I wish I knew more physics and science > then again for 40k > I'mma just chalk it up to Omnissiah / Emperor / Propaganda "Human Waggg Magic" that makes the tech work the way it does > i.e. breaking any notion of science LOL

 

Everywhere I go and read or listen people go one about how the 40k tech doesn't work in the vein they were hoping (i.e. game mechanics herein) or is impossible tech according to science in RL > sounds like consensus magic to me ;)

 

Here's a good reference of what I'm talking about LOL

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv5ZAX8SdBs&t=18s

 

Not my favorite channel but hey > she does the math and explains the pseudo science in great detail > so hat's off to tank girl!

Edited by MorbidDon

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Another idea > no automatic TB soak > roll a Toughness Test after a hit > for each success reduce the damage by 1 point...

 

Granted I don't "personally" like adding new rolls to the game system > but think of this like a "damage savings throw" so to speak...

 

This idea would be in the vein of how Shadowrun has you roll to SOAK damage after the attack hits...

 

I am still thinking of other solutions

 

Morbid

Edited by MorbidDon

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From Reddit;

 

Something you could do is all or nothing Damage reduction.

Basically, if damage is below a threshold, none is taken. But if damage is above a threshold, ALL is taken.

 

(To add to this idea above; supposed you compare the damage rolled to total soak TB+AR and if that value is higher > the character takes all the damage but that is only SOAKed by armor not the tougness > toughness in this case is only used initially to but not in the final SOAK outcome after)

 

In 40k this would be very deadly > and I could see it speeding up the game tremendously...

 

CON to this is > we have no Character Generating App (I mean one that can "auto generate" a well balanced or role focused character > ATM they all just randomly assign whatever to the character and you end up with a jumbles character who isn't optimized for jack LOL)

 

Example / Math:

 

Say I got a Total SOAK of 9 (TB 4 + AR 5)

 

Now I get hit for say 12 damage...

 

OK > 12 from 5 = 7 > this is the damage i took!

 

Second attack at me only does say 8 then it does no damage of course...

 

In essence at attacker by the math would have to do 10 or more points of damage in this case
(10 - 5 = 5 damage minimum this character takes based on the math > in our example)

 

By this math > the character either takes minimally 5 or 0 points of damage per attack...

 

Just another idea....

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