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spong

How best to handle sustained combat?

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Here's the deal, the team is going into a hive ship.  I've got a large party, so in order to give it a semblance of challenge, I plan to make endless hordes of Xenos a part of the scenery for a good chunk of the mission.

Shortly after they make entry, the hormaugants start flooding in.  On the one hand, I don't want to be roll-playing the entire night.  On the other, I want to be fair and hold them accountable for their requisition usage and tactical decision making.  So I basically took their equipment and ammunition choices and averaged their horde damage as a fixed value.

Provided the team is completely exposed, they must put out at least 120 damage to horde magnitude per round in order to keep the enemy at bay.  They need additional damage (1:1 damage/meter) to make any forward progress.  So 30 damage per 90 degrees of exposure.  They'll want at least 125 damage/round to be able to move fast enough to keep up with the mission time line.

They'll need to keep this up for roughly 1 hour, 29 minutes of in-game time.

The way I see it, the ammunition they bring with them is the limiting factor.  The guy running the heavy bolter is going to burn a magazine (6.8kg) every 6 combat rounds.  But he's using a backpack supply (40kg), which will run for 25 combat rounds.  Looking at 1068 combat rounds, he'll need roughly 43 backpacks or 178 detachable box magazines to keep it rocking for the whole show.

I do not see that as being a feasible quantity of ammunition to carry around on a boarding mission.

Likewise, let's say they pool their requisition and purchase ammo to feed it.  With the points they have left, they could afford 305 box mags for the heavy bolter, provided NA requisition cost = 0, so +5 for a heavy bolter mag = 5 requisition per magazine.  They've got the points, but I just cannot rationalize how it could be hauled around.

We've got some house rules for carrying capacities on extra munitions, but nothing to really cover something quite like this.  With the average SB+TB total of 16, these guys are able to physically heft this much material with ease.  But no matter their strength, the size and bulk of the items in question make it an impossibility in my estimation.  

Typically, I limit them to 3 standard mags and as much special requisition ammo as they can afford.  But how would a single character strap 10 heavy bolter box magazines to himself?

Just these kinds of glaring logistical issues with regard to long duration, high-intensity combat missions.  Any solutions?

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Make rounds longer. Or make narrative pauses  between rounds. 1068 rounds even without rolling is just boring. Round is an abstraction, formal 5 second duration should not restrict you. I personally would limit the combat to 30-40 rounds maximum.

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The intent is to make the massed combat part of the scenery.  The only portions that would be focused on are when complications are thrown, environmental or high tier enemies.  Otherwise, they're merrily trodding upon the bodies of tyranids on their way to the next objective. 

I decided to scale back the horde magnitude to their combined melee output.  So long as certain conditions are met, ammo shouldn't be a problem anymore.

I rationalized that the hive fleet has been engaged in a protracted siege for some time and is relatively exhausted of troops.  Additionally, secondary boarding forces will divert what resources are on hand.  So long as the team remains quiet, the ship will not be throwing everything it has at them.  Praise the Emperor and pass the stalker rounds.

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One thing you might consider doing as well are Kill Tokens and/or Turning Points. With Kill Tokens, whatever wave of bad guys coming after them is endless until they reach the requisite number. Using an example with fake numbers could help. Let's say the Kill Team needs to get 60 kill tokens to proceed to the next objective and there are a variety of bad guys available to kill. Every point of magnitude damage is worth, say 1/2 of a point, while genestealers could be worth 2 while a synapse creature is worth 5. Once they get enough kill markers, the Kill Team fought its way to the next objective.

Alternatively, you could use turning points. The Kill Team makes entry and has to "secure" the area by killing a number of synapse creatures before they get dragged down by endless hordes. Assuming they win, narratively describe how they Kill Team massacres lesser gaunts until the next decision point; maybe a critical junction/elevator (etc.) on the way to the objective. Again, another "kill X before Y". If they fail, they are pushed to a more circuitous route where another turning point to see if they make progress towards the objective. Best 2 of 3 (or however long you want it to go on). Either the PCs make it to the objective, or they way is choked with flesh and they can't press forward - and it's time for either a new plan on the fly OR flee/die.

You could also combine the two ideas. Secure the area requires X kill markers....first junction, more kill markers. Rinse and repeat. You should also consider adding time element to the situation - the Kill Team has to do X before Y time; failure means the Imperial fleet is destroyed (or something; whatever your story is doing at the moment).

My suggestion is, set the tone of endless waves narratively instead of slogging through with dice. Also, let the PCs describe HOW they deal with the waves between turning points. Grenades? Great, mark one off. Bullets? Nice, reduce ammo by 10. Swords, cool take 1d4 wounds that are considered "treated".

Edited by Snerded

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