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Hordes Combat

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One thing that puzzled me in horde combat is "What is the point of damage".

Invariably the damge the SM will do is going to be way above armour and toughness (and pen means armour is useless anyway).  I aprecciate hordes of other creatures may make a difference, but in reality a hit is pretty much 1 magnitude.

So I allowed damage and for each 10 he rolled (on a successful righteous fury) allowed 1 extra magnitude of damage.  I explained this down to either a well placed shot destroying a roof killing people, a melee attack ripping someone in two and demoralising the hordes, and after the initial couple, asked the players to describe their righteous fury to get the extra magnitude points of damage.

All in all it worked quite nicely.

 

 

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Yeah, I can see your point. Rolling damage against such lightly armored Horde targets kinda makes it redundant. You almost feel like you should be able to reward players for particularly good rolls, or whatever. But they do account for that in the autofire rules.

Without having run the scenario yet, and seeing how difficult it is to disperse Hordes, I would say hold off and see if the rules as written are good enough.

 

 

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I started running the game yesterday. The minimum damage for all of the marine weapons (save for the frag grenade) was greater then that of the damage reduction the hordes had. Because of this, I just had them skip rolling damage for hordes. For single targets I had them roll. After all, even a rebel leader has the slightest chance of still standing a punch from a power fist.

I found the 5 marines I had quite capable of tearing through hordes without trouble.

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Jalinth said:

I started running the game yesterday. The minimum damage for all of the marine weapons (save for the frag grenade) was greater then that of the damage reduction the hordes had. Because of this, I just had them skip rolling damage for hordes. For single targets I had them roll. After all, even a rebel leader has the slightest chance of still standing a punch from a power fist.

I found the 5 marines I had quite capable of tearing through hordes without trouble.

That's the case with the hordes in the scenario (low TB, no armour), but consider a horde of Orks in 'Eavy Armour (TB8, 6 AP) - that's going to be less easily overcome by a given damage roll (an Astartes bolter needs a 10+ to beat that, while a Frag Grenade needs 15+), making that roll important in stripping away Magnitude.

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Well yes. For a more worthy foe, I might consider the righteous fury suggestion above. I'm all for the players having moments of unspeakable carnage. Still, I'll wait to decide until I read the full rules on the hordes.

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Hordes are mostly obstacles used to whittle away at SM PCs, rather than truly serious threats.  Rolling 3d10+X damage, with 4 shots, a Magnitude 40 Horde can spread some damage even in a single turn before the SM can make them break.  Now, throw a series of 2 or 3 Magnitude 40 hordes (like the demo adventures do), and the SM will slowly take damage. Finally, throw some Genestealers into the mix, and you're looking at serious times where a single GS hit could incapacitate/critical a PC.

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 Keep in mind that in melee combat this is factored in (every 2 degrees of success is another hit, power weapons add another automatically to this).

 

However, I do like another magnitude of damage for each Righteous Fury rolled.

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SpawnoChaos said:

 

However, I do like another magnitude of damage for each Righteous Fury rolled.

 

Sort of a "cleaving through" kind of idea.  For melee, might not be too bad an idea.  I might give it a go and see how it balances.

-=Brother Praetus=-

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What I'm currently hoping for from the main rulebook (when it is released) are Horde vs. Horde mechanics.  In reading through Final Sanction last night and looking over the Horde/Turning Point system, I could think of several interesting Turning Points that would all but require that you understand your own Horde (i.e. the PDF that you might command) so that you could "use" them in combat.  Perhaps even more detailed Hordes that you could break up into sub-divisions representing the different commands, or when dealing with the Imperial Guard, different regiment types.

"You take the Tanith Light up the right flank to scout for armour elements, and I'll bring the Necromundan Heavy in support.  Meanwhile, Brother Agamorr over there is going to take the rest of the squad with the Gudrun Rifles up the center as a feint to soften up and draw out the enemy, while Brigadier Vanryn gets a good fire solution on their ranks.  Agamorr will pull back the Rifles to the left, taking cover in that copse of shrubberies... What was that?  Oh yes, the Nih! Shrubberies... and clean up survivors that will pull off to the left after the Necromundan Heavy open up on their armour.  Meanwhile the Tanith Light are going to come up from behind and..."

Okay, perhaps a bit fanciful but hopefully the point is fairly clear.  Each one of those commands are a part of the overall Horde, and each action also requires that a Horde engage another Horde.  Sure, the Marine can be awesome and all acting in Single Mode (a part of my concern remains that Horde rules are just there to make the Marine look cooler), but a part of the importance of the action is that Marines are leading non-Marine Hordes against other Hordes.

Just a thought after reading Final Sanction.

Kage

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I've just been informed that there is some semblance of rules in the sequel to Final Sanction that might cover this "requirement."  I'll have a gander at that when I get home from work tonight and then see what it has to say. 

Kage

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

Jalinth said:

 

That's the case with the hordes in the scenario (low TB, no armour), but consider a horde of Orks in 'Eavy Armour (TB8, 6 AP) - that's going to be less easily overcome by a given damage roll (an Astartes bolter needs a 10+ to beat that, while a Frag Grenade needs 15+), making that roll important in stripping away Magnitude.

Even using hordes as you suggest would make very little difference in the hord combat mix. Bolter has pen of 5 and a min damage of 7 (9 if tactical marine, plus pretty unlikely chance of rollingthree 1's) mening it massibely unlikely not to cut down the magnitude.

Greandes of course wouldn't be as good though.

What is important to the players is that they reduce the magnitude of Hordes as quick as possible, as on average they are going to take 3 damage per attack from any horde over Mag 30 and a well rolled hit can potetntially scupper a marine.

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When blasting down endless hordes of gaunts or cultists I'd skip the damage roll altogether. It doesn't make any sense and just slows down game. So what if someone rolled huge damage? One bolter round will still explode inside the target and kill one cultist or gaunt. No damage roll will change the fact that only weapons that should really cause a Horde more damage are things like Flamers, Heavy Bolters and Plasma Cannons.

Only when a single member of a horde actually has a chance of living through the single bolter shot should damage matter.

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I was of the understanding that a hordes magnitude was not related to it's number - just an abstract number to determine the combination of wounds, morale, tactical know how and skill.

Example a magnitude 30 horde may simply consist of 15 well placed heavy wepons or 100's of screaming fanatics.

The magnitude damage is a reflection on not just physical damage, but morale also.  Many times in the stories it describes the effects on others as a bolt shell explodes through someone's chest.

The thought that 1 magnitude of horde = 1 member of the horde is therefore likely to be wrong.

My point on the damage is that when a horde member sees their best friend/brother/neighbour or leader blown apart may give them second thoughts, and as such run as far away from the marines as they can get.

 

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To ease everyones worries on Hordes, I'm sure Fantasy Flight  have not play tested their own published game. Therefore that is why they haven't notice how damage against Hordes is...well boring.

I do understand that the first Hordes fought are random citizens that walked out with kitchen knives and went to war. But still. You should never be about to tell your players. "Don't worry about rolling damage." Which you are replayed to by "But! I rolled a Righteous Fury!" So I sat down after the game and pondered a good system that was easy and fun. I wanted to keep fights still difficult and my players still wanting to roll well.

Here it is! Everyone knows the starter Rebels are 30 Toughness/No Armour. So thats 4 damage that must be rolled to hurt their Magnitude. (3 damage to get past their Toughness, 1 damage to actually do damage). In the system I made not only every hit has the ability to do a Magnitude damage but every x1/x2/x3/x4/x5 of damage. So to take Multiple Magnitude from a Rebel you must do 4/8/12/16/20 etc. Each time you take a Magnitude you remove the amount needed from the amount of damage you did. 

Example: A Space Marine shoots a bolt pistol and does 15 damage. He did 2 Magnitude damage. (15 - 4 = 11 Thats one Magnitude, 11 - 8 = 3 That a second Magnitude. The 3 remain damage does nothing.)

Some of you may love this idea. Others (probably your GM) will cry that it makes doing damage to Hordes too easy. Play with it, work with it, mold it, or leave it. This is just my fix to the problem.

HOWEVER!

If any of you are looking at really killing a Horde, unless your a Devastator Marine you should be throwing Frag Grenades. That is 5 Magnitude a hit. Seeing how robotical players were when seeing Hordes. "Everyone just throw Frag Grenades..." Oh look, your five players just threw Frag Grenades into that Horde. Thats 25 Magnitude damage. The Horde instantly flees because they are under 25% Magnitude.

To fix that problem too! I kept the rule from up top and add that Grenades do not 5 Magnitude Damage (Blast Quality 5) but d5 Magnitude Damage. Unless a player rolls a Righteous Fury, then the Magnitude Damage is the max 5. Then you can add on what the real dice damage.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rules. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

LAST IMPORTANT NOTE: GMs don't forget to use cover on your Hordes.

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darknite said:

Rolling damage against Hordes?  I thought you just used magnitude of success to get extra hits against them and no damage was used.

Hordes still have Armour and damage Reduction from toughness. With the mobs in the Intro Adventure - these don't play a factor, but they will with more heavily armoured targets.

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 @DM Variyn

To ease everyones worries on Hordes, I'm sure Fantasy Flight have not play tested their own published game. Therefore that is why they haven't notice how damage against Hordes is...well boring.

That's because damaging hordes isn't supposed to be exciting. It's the backagainst which the exciting stuff happens and which shouldn't detract from it. Take a look at the published scenario: There are few combat encounters which don't have some special objectives and Turning Points, as they're called.

 

Some of you may love this idea. Others (probably your GM) will cry that it makes doing damage to Hordes too easy. 

And yet others (like me) will complain about the maths involved. The point of easily damageable hordes is that it completely strips a roll and a calculation from the combat round. Restoring that roll and even making it more complex reverses that process, making the focus of a combat the damaging of the unimportant mooks instead of the actual strategic targets.

Which, the more I think about it, actually resonates really well with the general idea behind Space Marine tactics: Don't bother with the enemy troops, just get in, destroy/kill/obtain what you're here for, and get out. These are the mission parameters for Marines and these very likely are the things an exciting Deathwatch game would focus on.

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Cifer said:

 @DM Variyn

To ease everyones worries on Hordes, I'm sure Fantasy Flight have not play tested their own published game. Therefore that is why they haven't notice how damage against Hordes is...well boring.

That's because damaging hordes isn't supposed to be exciting. It's the backagainst which the exciting stuff happens and which shouldn't detract from it. Take a look at the published scenario: There are few combat encounters which don't have some special objectives and Turning Points, as they're called.

 

Some of you may love this idea. Others (probably your GM) will cry that it makes doing damage to Hordes too easy. 

And yet others (like me) will complain about the maths involved. The point of easily damageable hordes is that it completely strips a roll and a calculation from the combat round. Restoring that roll and even making it more complex reverses that process, making the focus of a combat the damaging of the unimportant mooks instead of the actual strategic targets.

Which, the more I think about it, actually resonates really well with the general idea behind Space Marine tactics: Don't bother with the enemy troops, just get in, destroy/kill/obtain what you're here for, and get out. These are the mission parameters for Marines and these very likely are the things an exciting Deathwatch game would focus on.

I agree with this. Smash and grab is more a Space Marines style. They tend to get antsy when they are just sitting around.

It's kinda like owning a sports car. You know that the car goes REALLY fast, but you're stuck behind a garbage truck on a one lane road. Once you get a chance to get around that garbage truck, you floor the gas and rocket past him... feeling exhilarated that you overcame the burgeoning vehicle. The Space Marines feel the same way when they aren't actively pursuing their goals. All the hordes they face are just the "garbage trucks" in their way. Spearing into the very heart of the enemy is where they are happiest. 

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Cifer said:

 @DM Variyn

To ease everyones worries on Hordes, I'm sure Fantasy Flight have not play tested their own published game. Therefore that is why they haven't notice how damage against Hordes is...well boring.

That's because damaging hordes isn't supposed to be exciting. It's the backagainst which the exciting stuff happens and which shouldn't detract from it. Take a look at the published scenario: There are few combat encounters which don't have some special objectives and Turning Points, as they're called.

 

Some of you may love this idea. Others (probably your GM) will cry that it makes doing damage to Hordes too easy. 

And yet others (like me) will complain about the maths involved. The point of easily damageable hordes is that it completely strips a roll and a calculation from the combat round. Restoring that roll and even making it more complex reverses that process, making the focus of a combat the damaging of the unimportant mooks instead of the actual strategic targets.

Which, the more I think about it, actually resonates really well with the general idea behind Space Marine tactics: Don't bother with the enemy troops, just get in, destroy/kill/obtain what you're here for, and get out. These are the mission parameters for Marines and these very likely are the things an exciting Deathwatch game would focus on.

Well, the damage roll is obviously only interesting for very well armoured hordes. Personally I think it makes more sense to modify the size modifier of an entrenched horde for hitting purposes than give them 8 AP which likely ain't going to help them anyway.

 

Alex

 

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 Well, the damage roll is obviously only interesting for very well armoured hordes. Personally I think it makes more sense to modify the size modifier of an entrenched horde for hitting purposes than give them 8 AP which likely ain't going to help them anyway.

I disagree. When the average cover isn't sufficient to hold off a boltgun round and probably won't even provide concealment against the autosenses of the armour, it's not going to do the covered ones much good against Marines - so why shouldn't the rules reflect that?

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Cifer said:

I disagree. When the average cover isn't sufficient to hold off a boltgun round and probably won't even provide concealment against the autosenses of the armour, it's not going to do the covered ones much good against Marines - so why shouldn't the rules reflect that?

The rules do reflect it. Thats why Bolters do so much damage and have pen. If you are hiding behind a Flakboard wall its not going to do anything but if your behind a wall of Armaplas you got a better chance. Its obvious Bolts don't go threw everything. If they did the Imperium would never build fortifications.

AND

I can see where you are coming from about my variant being a lot at first. But we in all rights are smart people. Adding, subtraction, and multpilication are not beyond us. So asking my players to do such so their damage feels important is not a bad request. I think the only feeling of it be too much is because its not written in the book. If you flipped to page * and read that math was needed for hurting Hordes. No one would think the wiser.

Right now Hordes do one thing... Steal your ammo. Ether it be Frag Grenades or Bolter Rounds.

I also have to say the idea of a Space Marine being like a sports car leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The idea of Space Marines just being mindless destructive machine is a stereotype that should be washed away. FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD! Is not tactical. Read any good Space Marine novel and you will see they are all about tactics and not rash behavior.

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Cifer said:

 Well, the damage roll is obviously only interesting for very well armoured hordes. Personally I think it makes more sense to modify the size modifier of an entrenched horde for hitting purposes than give them 8 AP which likely ain't going to help them anyway.

I disagree. When the average cover isn't sufficient to hold off a boltgun round and probably won't even provide concealment against the autosenses of the armour, it's not going to do the covered ones much good against Marines - so why shouldn't the rules reflect that?

 

There's two arguments in my favour: the main one is that it makes things more interesting because in my variant it makes hitting the hordes harder whereas according to the FAQ rules, it really makes almost no difference whether the FS rebels are hiding behind cover or not.

The second argument is that given all the cover will get shot through anyway the main purpose of cover for the rebel hordes is that the SMs cannot see where to direct their fire for maximum efficiency. As such entrenched troops, rebels who set up positions in houses/ruins along an entire street are (maybe even much) harder to hit than if they would be standing clustered together on open street. With my rule I can vary up to 30% the to-hit chance; with the official ruling the rebels might as well ditch all positioning, maneuvering, covering.  And I don't see where auto-senses make a SM see through walls to direct their heavy bolter fire to the greatest enemy troop concentration either.

 

Not my cop of tea, sorry. Neither mechanics-wise and not realism-wise.

 

I think this AP mechanic gets only employed for one reason: the simplicity of coherence with the normal cover rules.  happy.gif

 

Alex

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@ak

There's two arguments in my favour: the main one is that it makes things more interesting because in my variant it makes hitting the hordes harder whereas according to the FAQ rules, it really makes almost no difference whether the FS rebels are hiding behind cover or not.

That would be because the available cover makes almost no difference to a Space Marine.

 

The second argument is that given all the cover will get shot through anyway the main purpose of cover for the rebel hordes is that the SMs cannot see where to direct their fire for maximum efficiency. As such entrenched troops, rebels who set up positions in houses/ruins along an entire street are (maybe even much) harder to hit than if they would be standing clustered together on open street. With my rule I can vary up to 30% the to-hit chance; with the official ruling the rebels might as well ditch all positioning, maneuvering, covering. And I don't see where auto-senses make a SM see through walls to direct their heavy bolter fire to the greatest enemy troop concentration either.

Take a look at the Dark Heresy rulebook, then. Hand-held Auspex, available for under 300 thrones, lets you read livesigns through a wall with a successful Tech-Use test. Would you assume Space Marines might have a somewhat better version of that little guy? Well, we'll see what the autosenses exactly contain pretty soon - but I don't think too many materials will have much of a chance of providing concealment without also providing actual cover.

 

@DM Variyn

The rules do reflect it. Thats why Bolters do so much damage and have pen. If you are hiding behind a Flakboard wall its not going to do anything but if your behind a wall of Armaplas you got a better chance. Its obvious Bolts don't go threw everything. If they did the Imperium would never build fortifications.

I was replying to ak's post and the rules suggestion within. I'd say if a Marine boltgun makes a certain cover essentially worthless, then the rules shouldn't change that, in the same way that the rules shouldn't require an agility check to make sure you tie your bootlaces right to somehow make that challenging.

 

I can see where you are coming from about my variant being a lot at first. But we in all rights are smart people. Adding, subtraction, and multpilication are not beyond us. So asking my players to do such so their damage feels important is not a bad request. I think the only feeling of it be too much is because its not written in the book. If you flipped to page * and read that math was needed for hurting Hordes. No one would think the wiser.

It's not that I don't think most roleplayers can do the math, but the topic we're talking about is combat. One of the things in RPG that should be dramatic, where a mere minute of ingame-time might completely change the adventure - and the only section of it where that minute of ingame-time will usually be drawn out to about half an hour of outgame-time. Every roll you eliminate there puts back some of the furious action combat should be.

I am quite fond of maths - in fact, my idea of calculating the strength of an astropathic choir was to square the individual psy levels, add them and then extract the square root (I'd like to call this the Pythagorean Choir). However, I'm also studying IT, which teaches that when you want performance, you use as few calculations as possible. Combat in particular is a situation where every roll and every calculation should have a purpose and everything nonessential should be stripped away in order to convey the drama and speed inherent.

I'm quite content with hordes only being a backdrop against which the actual action happens; a sketch, if you will, to show the players that yes, they're in a warzone and people are shooting at them. However, the actually interesting parts would be found elsewhere. It's not the chaos cultists that are a problem as they're gunning for the characters - it's their Traitor Marine lord who is itching for a fight with them. The rebel light infantry is unimportant - the artillery crew they're guarding that is shelling the command post of the Guard regiment the characters are attached to is. The ork mob doesn't much concern the Marines - but they and their Nob are in the way of the exit from the Promethium factory the kill-team just rigged with timed explosives.

 

I also have to say the idea of a Space Marine being like a sports car leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The idea of Space Marines just being mindless destructive machine is a stereotype that should be washed away. FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD! Is not tactical. Read any good Space Marine novel and you will see they are all about tactics and not rash behavior.

Perhaps I miscommunicated my image then. Space Marines are certainly not about mindless attacks - in fact, I'd imagine they'd be amongst the most brilliant tacticians of the Imperium, simply because unlike "pass me another ten companies" guard commanders, they can't afford losses. However, these tactics will very likely emphasize rapid assaults and continous movement towards the mission objective, for a very simple reason: Seen globally, Space Marines are still glass cannons. Their only hope for victory (okay, that's a pretty big hope, considering their track record) is to constantly keep the enemy off balance. If the enemy can contain them, it's just a question of how long it takes till he manages to bring the heavy gear that can hurt a Marine.
Thus, it's hit&run. Move in, preferably by pod directly next to the target, do whatever you came to do and move out. A Space Marine that is drawn into a protracted engagement isn't doing what he was supposed to be doing and more likely to wind up dead to boot - and dying is a job for the Guard.

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Cifer said:

@ak

There's two arguments in my favour: the main one is that it makes things more interesting because in my variant it makes hitting the hordes harder whereas according to the FAQ rules, it really makes almost no difference whether the FS rebels are hiding behind cover or not.

That would be because the available cover makes almost no difference to a Space Marine.

 

The second argument is that given all the cover will get shot through anyway the main purpose of cover for the rebel hordes is that the SMs cannot see where to direct their fire for maximum efficiency. As such entrenched troops, rebels who set up positions in houses/ruins along an entire street are (maybe even much) harder to hit than if they would be standing clustered together on open street. With my rule I can vary up to 30% the to-hit chance; with the official ruling the rebels might as well ditch all positioning, maneuvering, covering. And I don't see where auto-senses make a SM see through walls to direct their heavy bolter fire to the greatest enemy troop concentration either.

Take a look at the Dark Heresy rulebook, then. Hand-held Auspex, available for under 300 thrones, lets you read livesigns through a wall with a successful Tech-Use test. Would you assume Space Marines might have a somewhat better version of that little guy? Well, we'll see what the autosenses exactly contain pretty soon - but I don't think too many materials will have much of a chance of providing concealment without also providing actual cover. 

 

I would assume though that this is still difficult on a battlefield where your surrounded by hordes of enemies ata range, raging fires, etc.

Again: how much fun is it if it makes no differences whether enemy rebel hordes spread out and take cover or all are huddled together as densely as possible in the open? It removes another option for tactical maneuvering and moves battles against hordes one step closer towards mindless numbers-crunching.

I guess some people consider it fun when they play-see everything, hear-everything, can-do-everything guys, just as some people think a Temple Assassin can never be caught by surprise. Personally, I prefer a more moderate interpretation of even the heroes of Imperium. :-)

 

Alex

 

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Hordes is a quick easy way to deal with large groups of generic orc types. 1) Uses up ammo. 2) Provides a little tingle of Danger 3) Does so in a rapid moving format that doesn't bog down play.

If you've ever run ANY game with a huge mob of easy to kill bad guys, you will remember the players saying phew, thank god that is over! Not from tension - from boredom.

I personnally think its a GREAT idea, perfect for this setting. These mobs are background fluff for the story and shouldn't bog down the game.

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