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Luthor Harkon

Armour as a second skin...

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Dear fellow GMs.

 

One of the major issues I have with my players again and again is their wearing of armour under almost every circumstance. To be precise, most of them always wear their armour. Only when sleeping they take it of (because I stressed the point). I already had this kind of discussion years ago while playing fantasy where the Mercenary-Judicial Champion-Witch Hunter-PC sort of never took off his plate armour.

In DH it’s not plate armour, but the Assassin always wears his Xeno Mesh + Mesh Cowl (because I once said it is possible to wear other stuff above it), the Guardsman always wears his Flak Armour (and even his helmet most of the time) and the Arbitrator always has his Flak Greatcoat on (of which I said it is a little bulky and flak plates can be discerned beneath the cloth). The Tech-Priest wears a Mesh Combat Cloak and the Psyker wears an assortment of flak and mesh armour.

While I always told them it is not such a problem in the shadowy lower hive of the Corscarla District in Hive Sibelus, because they wear bulky cloaks above anyway, it should be a problem in the mid-hive (or on other civilized worlds) doing some investigation (the Mesh Armour is still as voluminous even if not as heavy as a chain mail coat imo and the Guard Flak Armour is as voluminous as modern day body armour imo). It kind of irks/bothers me that they simply want to always wear the armour as some kind of second skin.

Do you have any ideas how to handle that kind of problem? I already give deductions for many interaction-tests, but in the end this is also kind of counterproductive as it simply hinders the progression of an adventure most of the time. I also think about slight Agility reductions, but even then this won’t solve the problem as such and my players would moan a lot about my ‘new house rules’. Is there any advice how to hinder the players to always wear the armour as a second skin and kind of never take it off?

Thanks a lot in advance for any help.

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Two ideas spring to mind - one is have them forced to go undercover.  They won't be able to wear most of their armour if they are dressed as a noble fop and his entourage or merchant prince and his commerce guild cronies.

Secondly is to put them in some social situations where an NPC insists that they don't wear armour - a party where the noble host doesn't want boorish louts making the place look like an underhive den, a Guard Colonel who strips them of their gear before entering his operations HQ, a senior Acolyte who insists that a "softly softly" approach be used in the investigation, essentially any method you can think of to make the removal of the armour a part of the story and a "twist" to the plot.

Both options cannot be over used (for fear of appearing too heavy handed) but it may hopefully relieve them of the psychological crutch of *needing* to wear the gear all the time. 

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To toss out what might seem at first to be an unhelpful question: why do you feel this is it a problem? Why do you think they shouldn't wear armor all the time?

The answer to that, IMO, defines what you think the penalty for wearing armor should be. You said that you've established that it will cause social interaction penaties in some circumstances, which makes sense if you feel people will be uncomfortable talking to someone in full body armor. You might also want to consider that walking around in full armor will attract unwanted attention from the local Magistratum/gang enforcers/etc. It could also alert "the enemy" to the acolytes presence. If nothing else, it makes the acolytes easily recognizable and thus complicates any covert activities.

Now, of course, all of that will hinder and complicate whatever mission they are on. That's the point. That's the price they might have to pay. If you want to go that way, you have enforce that price at least once. Get them into an unnecessary confrontation with the city enforces. Have the mission fail and the bad guiys get away because they heard about this group of armored thugs asking question. Show them that wearing their armor compromised the mission. Then they will either adapt or die.

All of that said, let me play devil's advocate: why is it a problem? The Imperium is a heavily militerized culture. People in light body armor will stand out from the usually crowd of dregs and laborers, yes, but acolytes by their very nature are likely to do that anyway. So, why is it a problem?

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Nerd King said:

Two ideas spring to mind - one is have them forced to go undercover.  They won't be able to wear most of their armour if they are dressed as a noble fop and his entourage or merchant prince and his commerce guild cronies.

Sure, flak armour and carapace armour might be hard to get under the radar, but nifty PC's will still be able to use adequate armour even if they are dressed as noble fops and his/her entourage or  commerce guild cronies. Xeno Mesh for instance can be tailored to be pretty much like a piece of fabric (with microscopic, interlocking rings of dense metal or other exotic material) which is why most noble NPC's described in the books are wearing xeno mesh armour.

The only sure way of seeing how the PC's are going to strip their armour completely would be to either send them undercover into areas of extremely high security (with weapons and armour scanners of an extremely sophisticated nature) or perhaps as inmates to some sort of prison where all their belongings are taken away from them from the very beginning.

But if they are operating on any sort of world masking as any kind of civilians, with the standard civilian rights, they will feasibly be able to arm themselves with weapons and armour according to the fluff, albeit not the most cumbersome and military grade stuff during certain situations. But the Imperium of man does have a widespread use of both weapons and armour and it doesn't really matter where you go in Imperial society, because pretty much EVERYONE will have a sufficient reason to carry a weapon and wear some sort of armour on their person outside of their own homes. And the few worlds who might enforce harsh gun control laws to such a degree that the common citizen can't carry anything resembling a weapon or wear anything resembling a piece of armour in a public place usually belong to the exception rather than the norm. And even then, it's most likely that citizens will try to arm themselves as best as they can while at the same time avoid getting caught with a weapon.

So, as a GM, if I wanted to give a sufficient reason to strip the PC*s completely of armour and weapons I'd go with a prison setting, or some sort of setting where they are required to wear particular, and standardized uniforms of some sort (who don't lend enough room to "hide" anything more than a xeno mesh vest or something under it).

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Arbities and local PDF will always take an interest in armored individuals outside of certain areas. Also, as has been stated, the local gangs and criminal elements that the acolytes may or may not even be investigating will also take notice.

Have different groups completely unrelated to the investigation harass the group and show up at inopportune times.

The ultimate answer is the ever so versatile body glove and armored body glove.

 

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Thank you all for the helpful answers and  good ideas.

LuciusT said:

To toss out what might seem at first to be an unhelpful question: why do you feel this is it a problem? Why do you think they shouldn't wear armor all the time?

All of that said, let me play devil's advocate: why is it a problem? The Imperium is a heavily militerized culture. People in light body armor will stand out from the usually crowd of dregs and laborers, yes, but acolytes by their very nature are likely to do that anyway. So, why is it a problem?

Well, I see it as a problem, because I think it is unrealistically to always wear rather uncomfortable armour. In reality most soldiers and policemen certainly do not wear their body armour during lunch or while on a shopping tour. It is simply too cumbersome. In an RP this does not matter, it is like this

(at 3:50). Anyway, I simply think it is inadequate, when the players start thinking of AP as an inherent Toughness-bonus. I could deal out Fatigue points after a long time of wearing them, but I hope to find better solutions to keep players from always wearing the armour without unnaturally impeding the fluidity of the game. The replies were already very helpful in this regard.

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Luthor Harkon said:

 

Well, I see it as a problem, because I think it is unrealistically to always wear rather uncomfortable armour. In reality most soldiers and policemen certainly do not wear their body armour during lunch or while on a shopping tour. It is simply too cumbersome. In an RP this does not matter, it is like this

(at 3:50). Anyway, I simply think it is inadequate, when the players start thinking of AP as an inherent Toughness-bonus. I could deal out Fatigue points after a long time of wearing them, but I hope to find better solutions to keep players from always wearing the armour without unnaturally impeding the fluidity of the game. The replies were already very helpful in this regard.

To be fair though, the player characters aren't "policemen" or "soldiers" in any traditional sense. And most of the time they operate well beyond any sort of "home" or "homebase" that they might have grown accustomed to. For all intents and purposes, the acolytes will often be "strangers" to whatever place their mission is situated, strangers to a place that might suddenly become hostile.

Say that you were a policeman or a soldier in a regular army, and suddenly some schmuck with connections comes along from outer space, picks you up and say that he might have some use for you. You don't get to pack any particular belongings, you're basically scooped up with whatever you're currently wearing and carrying and whiked off to a starship and then you're sent to a world completely different from the one you've known for all your life. Your family, friends, co-workers or even your superior officer don't get a moments notice of your departure, and this schmuck with the access to the starship introduce you to a bunch of strange and wierd people of all manner of different backgrounds and looks. The schmuck just says:

"This is your team and now Im going to send you on a mission on this new world that you've never set foot upon or even knew existed. You are to root out a bunch of hostile heretics, but they are staying hidden so you have to conduct some investigation. And you can't tell anyone you're working for the big =][=, you have to solve this on your own. Good luck."

A harrowing shuttle descent and a few more moments pass by and suddenly you're standing in a dark, dank underhive where the people keep shy of strangers, look unnaturaly pale and all act in a manner completely alien to anything you've ever known, and you know for a fact that ANYONE could suddenly pull out a gun and start filling you with lead slugs.

To summarize: policemen and soldiers have a luxury called "spare time", and they often have well defined boundaries of when worktime begins and ends, and when "spare time" takes hold, and when there's time to relax and unstrap the work gear. Acolytes of the Inquisition rarely get to enjoy such things, and it will most likely take years or decades of service to develop a natural sense of when rec time begins and when it's safe to relax.

The bottom line is, picture yourself in such a situation. Would you deem it safe and appropriate to remove vital pieces of armour and leave your guns in the closet if all this happened to you? Especially considering that the very next night you and your group of Inquisitorial colleagues get attacked by a gang of cloaked men armed with autoguns and thus fulfilling the warnings that your "new boss" told you about when you were still in orbit?

Well, would you? gran_risa.gif

 

I know I wouldn't. I would be more paranoid than ever, and I could most likely not care less if me wearing armour would be considered "off putting" by the strange natives of the world in question...

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As a voice of dissent here, some armor is actually quite acceptable or easily hidden. The game actually goes well out of its way to provide for this. The Flak Greatcoat is described as "functional as well as stylish," for example, and is the mark of an officer. Much like Bolt, Inferno, or Plasma Pistols, it can be seen as a mark to status, more than acceptable in high society.

Likewise, mesh armor does not necessarily look like armor at all, and functions as a comfortable fabric until struck. Synthskin and Bodygloves are designed to be worn under other clothing as well.

Soldiers actually don't necessarily take off their uniform and armor to eat or sleep on the battlefield. None of the armor in DH is full plate (well, except the primitive full plate), and if your players suspect that they are in danger, they will wish to keep their armor on.

Granted, in a situation in which they need to convey a particular impression, they may need to acquire a new peice of armor as part of the disguise. If their normal mesh armor looks like an ordinary shirt, they may need one that blends in with their disguise at a noble's ball. Likewise, one that is too stylish may seem out of place if they want to attract no attention in the lower hive.

Things like accounting for where and when you wear your armor can help aid emersion, of they can be an obstacle which simply pit's the DM's assumptions against the players' attempts to adapt to the setting. I'll let you decide how relevant this observation is to your scenario and how the information above relates to your preferences for the game.

 

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I know what you are talking about. You want your players to take a realistic, pragmatic view of armour?

I'd help them along a bit. If the mission is in a situation where overt armour would hinder them have =][= provide them with armoured body gloves. Or do a mission with a Guard unit where they have to wear the official armour (or get chewed out by the sarge for not being in uniform...).

Offer them access to more armours in the books so they begin to think of the right armour for the situation.

Have them attacked at night once without armour, if the next few times they sleep if they say they will wear armour at night then give them a minor penalty to AGL rolls the next day due to soreness.

Basically allow them armour most of the time, when it is not suitable, suggest an alternative. Hopefully before you know it they'll have a few different setups for their characters, low profile/normal profile/door kicking.

I find the same setup for players and weapons, sometimes they need basic, sometimes pistols and occasionally anything goes.

Now if they flat refuse then block their way. e.g. they are going to a party, sorry dress code is formal military uniforms only, not armoured attire; they are not allowed in. Don't give them time to source replacement armour (party will be over when they have) and have them do the encounter without their armour or fail the mission. If they do have them get chewed out. "You didn't go to a party because you couldn't wear your flak coat???"

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The Imperium is a dangerous palce, people will wear whatever armor they can get away with. I'm sure some Gang Leader Hiver would wear powered armour on his way to the grocer if he had it.

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Ok, you all convinced me it is more or less okay in most situations in 40K to wear some kind of body armour, especially when working for the Inq far away from home. Maybe I should be happy that our Arbitrator had chosen a Flak Greatcoat instead of Light Enforcer Carapace when I gave him the option. One of the points that still irks me, is that, when a fire-fight suddenly breaks out, my players suddenly all wear their head armour (including flak helmets) without mentioning it beforehand...

The actual 'problem' is, the Assassin player (started with TB2 btw) recently began laughing about stub pistols and their ineffectiveness. And in our next session I intended to have an encounter where they want to check an apartment in a hab-block and 5 hired-guns (mercenaries) are already there doing the same. These guys are 'only' armed with stub pistols, but I still want to have a potential fight be thrilling and potentially dangerous for my PCs without using man-stopper rounds (otherwise they become obligatory) or heavier weapons (as they do not really expect any (or at least able) oppostion.). Any ideas?

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Luthor Harkon said:

The actual 'problem' is, the Assassin player (started with TB2 btw) recently began laughing about stub pistols and their ineffectiveness. And in our next session I intended to have an encounter where they want to check an apartment in a hab-block and 5 hired-guns (mercenaries) are already there doing the same. These guys are 'only' armed with stub pistols, but I still want to have a potential fight be thrilling and potentially dangerous for my PCs without using man-stopper rounds (otherwise they become obligatory) or heavier weapons (as they do not really expect any (or at least able) oppostion.). Any ideas?

Sounds like your assassin is getting cocky. Just working the numbers, but with TB 3 and Mesh or Guard Flak armor, they can shrug off 7 pts of damage before taking wounds, but stub rounds still has a better than 50% chance of hurting them. Stub automatics using semi-auto fire are not to sneered at. Autoguns and autopistols on full auto, which I would expect any serious hired gun to carry, should be cause for a little concern.

Also, remember that the 40K military ethos do not acknowledge the concept of "overkill." I would expect the mercs to carry at least one clip of man-stoppers and at least one guy with a heavier weapon, if only to shock and awe the locals.

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LuciusT said:

 

Sounds like your assassin is getting cocky. Just working the numbers, but with TB 3 and Mesh or Guard Flak armor, they can shrug off 7 pts of damage before taking wounds, but stub rounds still has a better than 50% chance of hurting them. Stub automatics using semi-auto fire are not to sneered at. Autoguns and autopistols on full auto, which I would expect any serious hired gun to carry, should be cause for a little concern.

Also, remember that the 40K military ethos do not acknowledge the concept of "overkill." I would expect the mercs to carry at least one clip of man-stoppers and at least one guy with a heavier weapon, if only to shock and awe the locals.

 

 

Cocky indeed, and you should see his grin whenever he states his >20 damage output from his dual wielded Fate Bringers. He can indeed shrug off 'only' 7 at the moment, but he also Dodges at about 66%. Anyway, I think about giving the hired guns flak vests or light flak coats. Man-stopper ammunition would be a strong give-away (at least in my campaign) that they are highly connected (which they are not really) and heavier weapons might not fit in that specific situation (maybe a pump-action would be fine). The hired guns are rather low-profile in fact and the last thing they want to do is shock and awe the locals (after all it takes place in some kind of mid-hive area).

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Luthor Harkon said:

LuciusT said:

 

Sounds like your assassin is getting cocky. Just working the numbers, but with TB 3 and Mesh or Guard Flak armor, they can shrug off 7 pts of damage before taking wounds, but stub rounds still has a better than 50% chance of hurting them. Stub automatics using semi-auto fire are not to sneered at. Autoguns and autopistols on full auto, which I would expect any serious hired gun to carry, should be cause for a little concern.

Also, remember that the 40K military ethos do not acknowledge the concept of "overkill." I would expect the mercs to carry at least one clip of man-stoppers and at least one guy with a heavier weapon, if only to shock and awe the locals.

 

 

Cocky indeed, and you should see his grin whenever he states his >20 damage output from his dual wielded Fate Bringers. He can indeed shrug off 'only' 7 at the moment, but he also Dodges at about 66%. Anyway, I think about giving the hired guns flak vests or light flak coats. Man-stopper ammunition would be a strong give-away (at least in my campaign) that they are highly connected (which they are not really) and heavier weapons might not fit in that specific situation (maybe a pump-action would be fine). The hired guns are rather low-profile in fact and the last thing they want to do is shock and awe the locals (after all it takes place in some kind of mid-hive area).

If you´d like to make low-profile goons little bit more dangerous, but keep low-profile, pistol-mostly equipment, I would advise to move from stubguns towards autopistols (similiar, but full-auto OME!), handcannons and steel burner laspistol/hellpistol and hackof shotgun for leader (maybe even overcharged or hot-shot). Arm them with shock mauls with mono (spiky) upgrade and more fun is created. Add hunter/combat servo-skull with chainknife and/or pair of cybermastiffs with berserker chips, mono-jaws and bio-scanners (to get lock on cocky assasin) and I think that it could get funny. :)

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Luthor Harkon said:

 

The hired guns are rather low-profile in fact and the last thing they want to do is shock and awe the locals (after all it takes place in some kind of mid-hive area).

 

 

Remember though, while something like a handcannon or bolt pistol might be a pretty hefty pistol, it's still just a pistol and could quite feasibly be concealed enough under certain articles of clothing without alerting local onlookers too much. Let's see how cocky your assassin is when he's hit point blank in the chest with a handcannon round. (those things hurt!) demonio.gif

Also, it's something that mercenaries could be expected to carry. Stub pistols of the smaller kind are more like "personal protection" weapons for the common citizen rather than an outright assault weapon. Mercenaries wouldn't be very likely to use weapons intended for personal protection if they are going after a target, they would most likely use something that packs more punch or can spit out more bullets with each squeeze of the trigger.

Also, if you'd like to REALLY put a scare into your players, have one of the mercenaries be a sneaky bastard who stand back while the others attract the attention of the acolytes, have him aim for a full round against an acolyte who can't feasibly see the shot coming. Then let that acolyte know that he's just been hit and injured by a needle pistol with a venom coated projectile.

Then you can enjoy the cold sweat breaking out on the player in question. (even more: demonio.gif)

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Varnias Tybalt said:

Also, if you'd like to REALLY put a scare into your players, have one of the mercenaries be a sneaky bastard who stand back while the others attract the attention of the acolytes, have him aim for a full round against an acolyte who can't feasibly see the shot coming. Then let that acolyte know that he's just been hit and injured by a needle pistol with a venom coated projectile.

Then you can enjoy the cold sweat breaking out on the player in question. (even more: demonio.gif)

Hm, why Minevra-Aegis Lascarabine hidden under the long coat comes to my mind *evil grin*.

By the way, if it fits your story I think that leader could carry something more exotic and forbidden as Splinter or Shuriken pistol.

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Luthor Harkon said:

Cocky indeed, and you should see his grin whenever he states his >20 damage output from his dual wielded Fate Bringers. He can indeed shrug off 'only' 7 at the moment, but he also Dodges at about 66%. Anyway, I think about giving the hired guns flak vests or light flak coats. Man-stopper ammunition would be a strong give-away (at least in my campaign) that they are highly connected (which they are not really) and heavier weapons might not fit in that specific situation (maybe a pump-action would be fine). The hired guns are rather low-profile in fact and the last thing they want to do is shock and awe the locals (after all it takes place in some kind of mid-hive area).

If I were leading hired guns in a mid-hive area and wanted to be low profile, I might consider kitting my team out in gear similar to the local Magistratum enforcer squads... flak coats, helmets with visors, pump-action shotuguns, punisher batons and autopistols or stub automatics. That way we would be armed and armored thugs but in a way that puts people in mind of the state sanctioned armed and armored thugs. Also, a sufficient load-out to give a squad of cocky (but obviously experienced and well armed) acolytes a reasonable challenge.

FYI, it strikes me (and I could be off base) that part of your problem might be that you are outfitting your antagonists in accordance with your vision of how people should be armed and armored within the world. Meanwhile, your acolytes are equipped based on a different vision. Your vision seems to be more "real world" while theirs seems more "adventurer."

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Luthor Harkon said:

(..)

And in our next session I intended to have an encounter where they want to check an apartment in a hab-block and 5 hired-guns (mercenaries) are already there doing the same. These guys are 'only' armed with stub pistols, but I still want to have a potential fight be thrilling and potentially dangerous for my PCs without using man-stopper rounds (otherwise they become obligatory)  (...)



This might be counter-productive, but I do not see why a team of mercenaries shouldn´t load manstopper "obligo". If they are "just thugs", they might not. But if they are mercenaries like in "professional", they should have opted for that extra punch.

Let´s face it, the rules are what they are. Every pc with a "good armour" and a mediocre TB will not be impressed by "ordinary stub automatics". So, start loading manstopper. If you overcome your first "do-not-WANT" feel, you will see that this approach helps.
As a house rule I ruled that some stubs (revolver or automatic) are of a heavier caliber then "standard" and gain the "Tearing" quality thereby (reducing magazine in turn). Adds a little to the damage output of the npc without packing "AP". Needless to say, AP rounds for those are hard to get by and are more costly (to keep the pc from "maxing out again").

Talking the "always on helmet":
Add a penalty to awareness roles. Helmets can hinder hearing, most them hinder sight "at the edges". If they do not, they are either very well build (good quality?) or "open face". Which is good if you press your face in the dirt against shrapnell or if a shot comes in form anything but in the face...

 

And again: As has already been said... ENFORCE penalties for social circumstances, if you do not want them to wear armour all the time. Tell them that while they try to make use of inqiery, they notice that no-one wants to talk to them... and this might be due to their martial appearance. If this does not help... make them lose a mission over it. Hack, MAKE ONE MISSION where they will lose it if they strole around in armour. If they lose, give them a debriefing with pissed Interogator. Do not punish them. Just make sure they get their "behinds" handed verbally. If they briefed for their next mission, give them a line like "and due not screw things up this time!" at the end of the briefing.

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Luthor Harkon said:

 

Ok, you all convinced me it is more or less okay in most situations in 40K to wear some kind of body armour, especially when working for the Inq far away from home. Maybe I should be happy that our Arbitrator had chosen a Flak Greatcoat instead of Light Enforcer Carapace when I gave him the option. One of the points that still irks me, is that, when a fire-fight suddenly breaks out, my players suddenly all wear their head armour (including flak helmets) without mentioning it beforehand...

 

 

What i do in situations where nothing is mentioned but the player states that "ya, but my character would have thought of that!" or something similar is to put that statement to the test and have them make an Int Test. If they pass, then their character did indeed think of that, put the helmet on just in case, etc, but if they fail, then, unfortunately, this time around the character didn't think of that. I will give bonuses to the roll now and again depending on how likely (but not so likely that I just say, "ya, your character definitly would have thought to do that") that the character would have done such.

For instance, if the characters rolled out of their cots geared up, and set about investigating, but never mentioned the helmets, interacted with some folks and you treated the scenes as if they were helmetless, and then they go into hab-hole 228-67589302 looking for Master Tann the Gamin' Man to ask him a few questions at gun point, and in the past they've always gotten away with having helmets on for such an occasion, I'd give them a fair shake of +10 or +20 to their int check when they state "wait, we have our helmits on!". I'd also let Foresight give a bonus to this and if any character who passes the check announces that his character would have told the others to put on their helmets, that would be a case of assistance and give the other characters the usual bonuses for assistance.

Luthor Harkon said:

 

The actual 'problem' is, the Assassin player (started with TB2 btw) recently began laughing about stub pistols and their ineffectiveness. And in our next session I intended to have an encounter where they want to check an apartment in a hab-block and 5 hired-guns (mercenaries) are already there doing the same. These guys are 'only' armed with stub pistols, but I still want to have a potential fight be thrilling and potentially dangerous for my PCs without using man-stopper rounds (otherwise they become obligatory) or heavier weapons (as they do not really expect any (or at least able) oppostion.). Any ideas?

 

 

For this, I'd suggest a definite ambush on the Merc's part, possibly having two of their boys stashed and hidden at key close lookout points to their location. These two would, unless spotted (give them some dark concealing clothing for a +10 to concealment... and give them concealment at +10 to help) they will get the first undodgeable shots off plus anouther salvo for the first round of combat before anyone else could do anything. Arm one of them with Duel Weld Ballistic and 2 autopistols (vicious on full auto at close to pb ranges and harder to dodge) and the other big bruiser a pair of hand cannons and Duel Shot (he should go after the autopistol guy).

In the end, though, I'd have to agree with what Lucious T said except I'd amend his statement ever so slightly: you seem to be approaching weapon load-out with a realistic modern perspective while they're geared up in a more 40k fashion. If the players do it, then you should to. After all, by the actions of their PC's, how they play them, and how they equip them, they are telling you what kind of game they'd like to play.

Also, don't forget, the Imperium is a militarized society filled with a grandiose amount of over the top violence. Just looking at the tools of death available to those in the 40k universe, I'd ave to agree with the cocky statement of your Assassin: unless he dose something stupid, he shouldn't have to worry overly much about a simple stub pistol. After all, the stub pistol in 40k (in comparison to everything else in the armory) is the 40k equivalent (because every thing's bigger and over the top) of our Holdout .22's and those are only better then what the target has if the target has absolutely nothing else at all.

Stub pistols are the kinds of weapons that are handed out to the manufatoria workers of the Scintillian hives for personal protection and legal defense. They are the weapons of the working drones. A merc solely outfitted with one would either be overly worried about his cover as a drone being uncovered, need to frame a drone for the shooting, or is only a merc in the sense that he had a gun and someone gave him money to shot somebody with it. A professional merc who makes his living putting foreign objects in other folks against their will would probably have some better tools of the trade at his or her disposal if they want to continue putting foreign objects in folks.

 

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There is certain types of armor you can wear at all times and which can be concealed or made to look like normal clothes. Some of it is light enough to wear all the time. If acolytes have access to mesh vests, for example, or synskin, I see no problem having them go about in it. Actually, I'd say they are stupid if they don't wear it. Inquisition is a dangerous place to work in. Where I live local police officers, mall guards and many, many other people wear concealed vests pretty much always when on duty and you can't really tell it from under the clothes.

 

Then there is stuff you simply don't want to wear unless its the only thing keeping you alive. Due to my job I've used both concealed vests and heavy body armor and helmets. You can wear concealead vest whole day and be happy about it. Most of the time wearing heavy armor and helmet starts to hurt and piss me off in few hours. :P


Several little ways to stress the problems of wearing  heavy armour:

  • Describe how people stare at them, whispering something and moving out of the way as they walk fully armored in hive streets.
  • Have people constantly expect them "Yes, yes, I was expecting you. I guess you want to know about mister X. Well, he is not here and we don't really have anything else to say." because word travels fast about "That pack of heavily armord goons"
  • "Excuse me sirs, we do not allow weapons or armor inside this establishment" at the door of bar, local mall, bank... everywhere.
  • Have them throw extra toughness checks to do any heavy activity (running, climbing etc.) since they are already extremely fatigued for spending the whole day wearing heavy armor. "Right, your shoulders are stiff and hurting from wearing the chestplate and you simply don't have enough strenght left in your arms to even try that climb safely."
  • Have them simply do willpower checks to continue wearing heavy armor in hot, humid climates. "Okay, you are sweating all over, all your muscles hurt and you feel the chestplate is preventing you from breathing. You have only two choices really: take off the armor or lay down and wait for the weather to turn cold."
  • Have local Adeptus Arbites arrest them, throw them into jail, question them and release them 24 hours after. All because someone thought they look really suspicious and no-one wanted to take any risks.
  • "Right sirs, the Customs Law 127 explicitly bans bringing power armor into spaceport Nevermind. Unless you can produce a legit Adeptus Arbites or PDF badge I will have to arrest you for attempted smuggling of forbidden military-issue power armor into spaceport Nevermind. The penaly for smuggling military-issue equipment is 5 to 10 years of hard labor in salt flats."

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I'm really impressed by this amount of helpful answers and really appreciate this kind of high-quality brainstorming. Especially regarding the armour issue I originally had and the weapon load-out matter.

It seems I really have (as Lucius and Graver said) a too modern approach at the moment regarding the combat load-out of the hired guns. Maybe, this is because my acolytes are currently on a rather young colony that was constructed subsequent to the Angevin Crusade with the help of a found STC fragment and there is even some kind of republican government (the planetary governor being half-elected and so on). My PCs are not that heavily loaded-out either though (well, except the Guardsman) and mostly have SP-weapons (Carnodon, Fate Bringer, Creed-9) with the odd Steel Burner for the Psyker.

The mentioned hired guns are mostly AWOL Imperial Guardsmen and/or trained scum, so they are better trained than most under-hive ganger but far away from real high-end mercs. They are hired by a major trading cartel to do the dirty work for them, but they do not themselves know who they are working for and are smart enough to not ask awkward questions. They are hired by a middleman so that the cartel keeps its hands clean. We played the session yesterday and I pimped them slightly up beforehand. One of them got a pump-action shotgun, one got a punisher buton, one got a shock gauntlet and all had combat knives. Still, not that heavily armed, but a little more challenging for the PCs especially because they directly ran into their ambush after they made their presence rather clear by using the doorbell. Anyway, the Arbitrators use of a choke gas grenade was rather well placed in the end and only minor injuries were suffered by the acolytes (though the Guardsman getting a nose piercing by a stub round...).

Thanks again all of you.

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Luthor Harkon said:

My PCs are not that heavily loaded-out either though (well, except the Guardsman) and mostly have SP-weapons (Carnodon, Fate Bringer, Creed-9) with the odd Steel Burner for the Psyker.

I disagree with your assessment. I would consider Carnodons or Fate Bringers to be fairly heavily duty weapons and the Steel Burner is a very rare, high powered las pistol. Sure, their not carrying bolters or plasma guns but for the SP and Las range, your PCs are running at or near the top of the heap.

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TorogTarkdacil said:

 

 

Hm, why Minevra-Aegis Lascarabine hidden under the long coat comes to my mind *evil grin*.

By the way, if it fits your story I think that leader could carry something more exotic and forbidden as Splinter or Shuriken pistol.

Certainly. I just picked a needle pistol for this example because it's a pistol sized weapon and thus easy to conceal (meaning it fits the description of the OP's version of mercenaries who carry low key armament), and needle pistols usually fire envenvomed projectiles and if we're going with the rules included in the GM screen the GM i by no beans bound to use the "standard" poison for the ammuniton but could very well use other forms of nasty poisons.

It can be scary to get shot with a norma bullet, but I'd say that it's even more scary to notice that you've just been hit by a syringe dart of some kind and that you have been injected with an unknown substance.

Also, using this method is a pretty good way to deal with over confident assassins. The player playing the assassin will usually expect to be the sneakiest sneaky bastard around. He'll probably have stated out his assassin with all manner of increases in oncealment, shadowing, silent move etc. and pretty much think: "IM the one who sneaks up behind the backs of others!"

In my experience, assassin players usually don't expect to be sneaked up upon themselves. So always remember that more people can play that game, and also remember that an assassin travelling with a group of people is more likely to have hi or her cover blown, unlike the NPC assassins or mercenaries who will probably try to split up when ambushing a party of player characters if strategy demands it.

When you're busy dodging behind cover and fighting for your life against some well entrenched assailants with fully automatic weapons, who might even be lobbing grenades behind your cover, you're not gonna notice that unassuming boarded up window in the alley where the notorious "other guy" sits in hiding, carefully taking his silenced shot.

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LuciusT said:

Luthor Harkon said:

My PCs are not that heavily loaded-out either though (well, except the Guardsman) and mostly have SP-weapons (Carnodon, Fate Bringer, Creed-9) with the odd Steel Burner for the Psyker.

I disagree with your assessment. I would consider Carnodons or Fate Bringers to be fairly heavily duty weapons and the Steel Burner is a very rare, high powered las pistol. Sure, their not carrying bolters or plasma guns but for the SP and Las range, your PCs are running at or near the top of the heap.

That's kind of true, but the PCs are Inquisition operatives after all and not some medicore urban mercenaries. The Arbitrator and Assassin are the ones with Carnodons and Fate Bringers and they almost never feature any bigger (ie. Basic) weapons. The Steel Burner (which is indeed almost impossible to purchase outside of Magnogorsk) was looted by the groups Psyker from a deceased Renegade Tech-Priest of an encountered Logician cell (from Edge of Darkness) and is kind of his only weapon (except his mostly kept at home Bastard Sword...). Still, I do not want to equip these kind of mercenaries with too high-end weapons as these guys are only expendable goons after all and I want to distinguish them from really hardcore opponents (like Serated Querry agents who featured Creed-9 with man-stopper rounds and Mesh Combat Cloaks in my campaign) that represent the real 'objective' of an adventure.

Actually, the groups Tech-Priest even has a Bolt Pistol... sonrojado.gif

 

Varnias Tybalt said:

In my experience, assassin players usually don't expect to be sneaked up upon themselves. So always remember that more people can play that game, and also remember that an assassin travelling with a group of people is more likely to have hi or her cover blown, unlike the NPC assassins or mercenaries who will probably try to split up when ambushing a party of player characters if strategy demands it.

When you're busy dodging behind cover and fighting for your life against some well entrenched assailants with fully automatic weapons, who might even be lobbing grenades behind your cover, you're not gonna notice that unassuming boarded up window in the alley where the notorious "other guy" sits in hiding, carefully taking his silenced shot.

Good idea. I actually plan to let a close-combat focussed Assassin sneak up to our groups Assassin (maybe some kind of Moritat or better Ashen Tear) as our groups Assassin is almost exclusively a ranged focused combatant. He do not even possess any close combat weapon apart from a Mono Knife. Even then, he is quite able in close-combat due to his Carnodons/Fate Bringers being usable in melee either...

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