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Xendrick

Rules changes I'm considering

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First of all, I’d like to point out that I’m still relatively new to RPGs and even newer to the Deathwatch system, although not new to tabletop as my crew has been playing 40k for several years now.

In my group, I was elected (by default) to the position of GM. Sadly for my players I have a massive tendency to want to customize certain rules in order to produce a game in which I believe aspects are more balanced or are more in line with our way of playing.
So far with my group I have found that any changes to the rules to allow for players (and opponents) to have more options available to them during a combat turn makes for a much more interesting game. In particular I would be interested in hearing some thoughts on two particular major rule changes that I’m considering implementing, I’d also like to hear how people go about choosing a scale when using tactical maps (if their group uses them).

First change:
Because of a misinterpretation in relation to a player being able to move his agility bonus in meters and still fire full-auto or semi-auto; one of my players thought that characters could move their agility bonus in meters as a free action. As this was near the end of the night I couldn’t be bothered setting him straight and allowed him to do it. Before long this ‘agility move’ caught on with the rest of the group and was being used pretty regularly. Here’s a draft of how the rule would function:

Agility Move:
All characters once per turn may as a free action make a half move. This action replaces and invokes the same penalties as the rule for moving and firing listed on page 239 and 241 of the Deathwatch Core Rulebook.
• This movement may not be made if the character is currently wielding a heavy weapon, engaged in close combat or if they are otherwise in a situation that would make it difficult for the character to maneuver.
• Characters with jump packs do not double the distance of this move

In effect it allows for players to still maneuver slightly when using actions such as reloading, unjamming and the like without having to sacrifice an entire half-action to move that distance. (Not to mention it’s not unreasonable to think a marine could reload etc and walk at the same time)

Second change:
As many have noticed; Semi-Auto Burst offers almost no advantage over Full-Auto.
I imagine this is the case because the Semi-Auto rules were designed with weapons similar to the plasma rifle or pistol in mind; weapons that gain a much larger increase to damage with each successive hit or aren’t supposed to deal quite as much damage rather than weapons like the bolter or autogun that gain a smaller increase with every hit.
However, I feel that the notion of having a ‘best’ fire rate for each weapon is undesirable as it effectively limits a use of a weapon to one pretty specific form of attack. So far I’ve felt that the best solution to this is to change semi-automatic to a half-action that can only be used once per game turn.

Full-Auto would remain the optimal choice for damage, but Semi-Auto would allow for more versatility as it could be used in conjunction with movement, grenades, aiming or even used as a delayed action.

Sorry for the large post >.<
 

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I like the drection you are taking here. The 40k ruleset has a couple of idiosyncracies and one is the primacy of full-auto. This can lead to very static fights with both sets of shooters standing fast and trading bursts until one is dead or flees. 

The free move should put a bit more mobility into fights - hopefully making things more dynamic.

I can't recall the last time a player used semi-auto with a gun that had full-auto capability. Personally I would like a redesign of the shooting rules such that -

- Single shot becomes an attack that does more damage (or crits/armour bypass perhaps) based on degrees of success - a viable option for a sharpshooter and not just with accurate weapons

- Semi-auto involves putting several rounds into one target - more potential damage than a single shot but without any precision effects.

- full-auto is sending a hail of bullets into an area hitting multiple targets and suppressing but with even less precision.

The current rules do the opposite. I reckon making semi-auto a half-action could be a nice quick-fix though. With the free move and a half-move beforehand a player could close to point blank or combat roll around cover to get an edge on the standard full-auto option.

good luck with it.

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One idea could be to mimic the idea of a "wide burst" vs. a "narrow burst"

Semi - more accurate, more hits landing on the target, +20 on attack, 1 hit for every degree of success, basically, turn it into the current full auto (but with fewer shots due to RoF)

Full - less accurate, but harder to dodge, +20 on attack, 1 hit for every two degree of success (basically current semi auto), but each DoS also increases the difficulty of the targets dodge check by 10.

Note that this is a top of the head generalization, and would in no way actually reccomend what is written above. Too many unknowns.

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I see where you're coming from with the notion that there should be a scale of accuracy against the number of bullets fired for each of the three firing rates. However I have several problems with this approach.

In this system the rules pertaining to the three firing rates are arguably the most important rules in the combat section if not the entire book and changing one of these rules can easily cause a huge amount of problems elsewhere.

For example; were you to change semi-auto to use the current full-auto rules, you'd suddenly find that plasma rifles are considerbly more powerful and in many cases a bolt pistol in semi-auto will outclass a full-auto bolter.

The idea that Semi-Auto could be changed to a (once per turn) half action without disrupting the rules significantly is based on the fact that it can already be turned into a half action by using a deathwatch suspensor.

I'll try to think about it some more; a large part of the problem is that the solutions that make sense would often bog down the game too much.

 

 

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As an addendum to each of the ideas put forth here and to make each rate of fire a viable choice in a given sitiuation make single shot remove the penalty for called shots. You're a space marine, if you tell me you can't put a single bolter shell where you want it how did you ever get into the deathwatch.

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I'm a bit of a rules lawyer, but there are some situations that I believe require the GM to interpret the rules in a creative manner because the designers didn't foresee the consequences of the rule as it was written (not written).  I am a veteran who has handled, maintained and fire many types of firearms.  I have a fair grasp of their function, so I address the rules from that vantage point.  Single shot is optimal for accuracy and economy of ammunition.  Burst (or, as the game designers call it, semi-auto), is a fair balance of rapid-fire firepower, accuracy and maintenance of ammunition.  However, it is less accurate.  Although full auto is highly inaccurate, it is attractive for engagements where overwhelming firepower will nullify a threat efficiently.

Players should not automatically have access to the ability to automatically place called shots with single shot.  Called shots should be challenging to a player.  Where is the sense of reward if you can "pip the ace" with every squeeze of the trigger?  Also, there are talents available to reduce and/or eliminate penalties to called shots.  Removing the penalty from the jump invalidates these talents.  There's no need to re-edit the book.

With burst fire, there should be no option for the number of rounds fired, but the burst attack should be a standard attack, with the option to move as normal.  In this case, I would not allow called shots.  That's too much.  I have some experience with burst fire.  It takes no more time to fire on burst than it does to fire single shot.  I know for a fact that moving and shooting are the same either way.  Full auto is a different story... the rules accurately reflect this.

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Benjimus Prime said:

I'm a bit of a rules lawyer, but there are some situations that I believe require the GM to interpret the rules in a creative manner because the designers didn't foresee the consequences of the rule as it was written (not written).  I am a veteran who has handled, maintained and fire many types of firearms.  I have a fair grasp of their function, so I address the rules from that vantage point.  Single shot is optimal for accuracy and economy of ammunition.  Burst (or, as the game designers call it, semi-auto), is a fair balance of rapid-fire firepower, accuracy and maintenance of ammunition.  However, it is less accurate.  Although full auto is highly inaccurate, it is attractive for engagements where overwhelming firepower will nullify a threat efficiently.

Players should not automatically have access to the ability to automatically place called shots with single shot.  Called shots should be challenging to a player.  Where is the sense of reward if you can "pip the ace" with every squeeze of the trigger?  Also, there are talents available to reduce and/or eliminate penalties to called shots.  Removing the penalty from the jump invalidates these talents.  There's no need to re-edit the book.

With burst fire, there should be no option for the number of rounds fired, but the burst attack should be a standard attack, with the option to move as normal.  In this case, I would not allow called shots.  That's too much.  I have some experience with burst fire.  It takes no more time to fire on burst than it does to fire single shot.  I know for a fact that moving and shooting are the same either way.  Full auto is a different story... the rules accurately reflect this.

I have to wonder how much the rules in games like this would differ if they were written entirely by people with experience in these things.

I agree with what you're saying about the called shots, as I said; It's far too easy to cause problems with what otherwise appears to be a minor change.

Although I'm a bit confused by what you mean in the third paragraph. The way I'm interpreting what you're saying is that in effect burst fire should be a half-action with no additional increase to accuracy and no further penalties for moving and shooting?

 

 

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I always allow my players a free 1 meter step (when we use battlemaps) to be taken whenever they want as a correction
They may also spend a reaction to make an additional AG Bonus move

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Santiago said:

I always allow my players a free 1 meter step (when we use battlemaps) to be taken whenever they want as a correction
They may also spend a reaction to make an additional AG Bonus move

Wouldn't that take something from having a delayed action? I can see that being a bit... fustrating if you were to have a situation where a player could just keep moving behind a wall in the reaction the moment anyone tries shooting.

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