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j-tech2

Horde damage... fixed?

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Horde damage bothers me by the rules as written. Specifically, when a 30-mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors shoots, they deal 2d10 + 3d10 for Horde magnitude bonus. I dunno, I'm just kinda skeptical of every attack roll causing 5d10 damage to my marines.

So, with this in mind, I broke down what I don't like about the Horde's attacks. The fact that they are getting their +3d10 damage to every attack they make that round for EACH attack they make seems to imply that all 30 Mag are firing at up to three different targets that turn.

I propose this modification to Horde damage. They gain bonus d10's to damage each turn equal to the tens digit of their Mag. They may expend only as many as they wish at each target, but may not exceed the allotment per turn. Also, they may only allot a bonus damage dice for each degree of success they achieve in hitting the target.

Example: A Tau Horde fires at 3 marines with their Pulse Rifles. They miss one, and hit the other two with only one degree of success each. When rolling for damage against each marine, they may only apply +1d10 to their damage roll. Note that they have an unspent bonus damage roll that cannot be allocated. Also, they may not stack both bonus damage against one marine, as only one degree of success was achieved versus each target.

What do you think? I realize this is a big nerf to Horde damage... but that was kind of the intent.

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Well first, its +2d10 damage max, as per horde rules, so a mag 20 horde deals same as mag 30, max of 4d10+2 damage.

24 damage on average is still rough.

 

Personally, seeing as how fire warrior squads are only fielded with up to 12 warriors, I wouldn't use anything higher than mag 20, ever, with tau.

They really ought to field multiple, smaller hordes, in a more tactical manner, creating traps with which to lure the space marines.

 

Not litter the field with 10000 fire warriors and have them charge the kill team.

 

As far as the proposed change goes... haven't given it enough though, might be worth a try, but I think it really cuts the bite out of hordes.

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J-Tech said:

Horde damage bothers me by the rules as written. Specifically, when a 30-mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors shoots, they deal 2d10 + 3d10 for Horde magnitude bonus. I dunno, I'm just kinda skeptical of every attack roll causing 5d10 damage to my marines.

So, with this in mind, I broke down what I don't like about the Horde's attacks. The fact that they are getting their +3d10 damage to every attack they make that round for EACH attack they make seems to imply that all 30 Mag are firing at up to three different targets that turn.

I propose this modification to Horde damage. They gain bonus d10's to damage each turn equal to the tens digit of their Mag. They may expend only as many as they wish at each target, but may not exceed the allotment per turn. Also, they may only allot a bonus damage dice for each degree of success they achieve in hitting the target.

Example: A Tau Horde fires at 3 marines with their Pulse Rifles. They miss one, and hit the other two with only one degree of success each. When rolling for damage against each marine, they may only apply +1d10 to their damage roll. Note that they have an unspent bonus damage roll that cannot be allocated. Also, they may not stack both bonus damage against one marine, as only one degree of success was achieved versus each target.

What do you think? I realize this is a big nerf to Horde damage... but that was kind of the intent.

J-Tech said:

Horde damage bothers me by the rules as written. Specifically, when a 30-mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors shoots, they deal 2d10 + 3d10 for Horde magnitude bonus. I dunno, I'm just kinda skeptical of every attack roll causing 5d10 damage to my marines.

So, with this in mind, I broke down what I don't like about the Horde's attacks. The fact that they are getting their +3d10 damage to every attack they make that round for EACH attack they make seems to imply that all 30 Mag are firing at up to three different targets that turn.

I propose this modification to Horde damage. They gain bonus d10's to damage each turn equal to the tens digit of their Mag. They may expend only as many as they wish at each target, but may not exceed the allotment per turn. Also, they may only allot a bonus damage dice for each degree of success they achieve in hitting the target.

Example: A Tau Horde fires at 3 marines with their Pulse Rifles. They miss one, and hit the other two with only one degree of success each. When rolling for damage against each marine, they may only apply +1d10 to their damage roll. Note that they have an unspent bonus damage roll that cannot be allocated. Also, they may not stack both bonus damage against one marine, as only one degree of success was achieved versus each target.

What do you think? I realize this is a big nerf to Horde damage... but that was kind of the intent.

 

I think I disagree with your assumption already. A platoon of fire warriors should give a 4-men kill-team pause for thought. These are not lowly Orks with hunting rifles.

 

@KommissarK: You don't have to treat each squad as a seperate horde though. A platoon of fire warriors working in close concert can be considered a larger horde. If necessary, split off a squad.

 

Alex

 

 

 

 

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 I believe that from a logical, and fluff perspective, the term "horde" and "Tau" should not be used in the same sentence. 

You can field them as a horde of 15-20 magnitude at the most... but for the most part, anything more than that would insinuate that the Tau have numbers to spare.. which they don't. 

Technology and better quality foot sloggers is where the Tau advantage comes from. Quality vs quantity is their motto. 

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SpawnoChaos said:

 I believe that from a logical, and fluff perspective, the term "horde" and "Tau" should not be used in the same sentence. 

Agreed.  I'm all for speeding up combat, but with the limited "enhancements" for Hordes the worry for me was always that the Horde rules were going to (arguably) homogenise combat, removing the distinctiveness of enemy troops that might be better handled with "GM tricks" rather than "mechanical bling."

Kage

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Kage2020 said:

SpawnoChaos said:

 

 I believe that from a logical, and fluff perspective, the term "horde" and "Tau" should not be used in the same sentence. 

 

 

Agreed.  I'm all for speeding up combat, but with the limited "enhancements" for Hordes the worry for me was always that the Horde rules were going to (arguably) homogenise combat, removing the distinctiveness of enemy troops that might be better handled with "GM tricks" rather than "mechanical bling."

Kage

 

GM tricks can be added on top of the bling. Also I am less picky about terminology - a mag 30 horde of Fire Warriors might be about platoon-sized. From a mechanics pov it's still a horde.

 

Anyway to the topic: I have always held the believe that hordes need to be able to hold back part of their fire. A GM needs to be able to declare some attacks (or some damage dice) are held back as part of overwatch/delayed action. Because a horde needs some kind of deterrence against being charged or trying to interdict enemy flanking maneuvers, etc.

 

This reserved fire would nerf the raw attack capabilities a bit for the sake of getting enhanced tactical flexibility.

 

Alex

 

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ak-73 said:

GM tricks can be added on top of the bling. Also I am less picky about terminology - a mag 30 horde of Fire Warriors might be about platoon-sized. From a mechanics pov it's still a horde.

As applied, I'm not sure that I agree with you, especially when coupled with some of the other bling, but it's probably not worth discussing/arguing about.  I was merely pointing out that as much as there might be an advantage with Horde rules, there are also some disadvantages that come with the core concept.  Just which side of the fence you land on may come down to GM style.

Kage

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J-Tech said:

 

Horde damage bothers me by the rules as written. Specifically, when a 30-mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors shoots, they deal 2d10 + 3d10 for Horde magnitude bonus. I dunno, I'm just kinda skeptical of every attack roll causing 5d10 damage to my marines.

So, with this in mind, I broke down what I don't like about the Horde's attacks. The fact that they are getting their +3d10 damage to every attack they make that round for EACH attack they make seems to imply that all 30 Mag are firing at up to three different targets that turn.

I propose this modification to Horde damage. They gain bonus d10's to damage each turn equal to the tens digit of their Mag. They may expend only as many as they wish at each target, but may not exceed the allotment per turn. Also, they may only allot a bonus damage dice for each degree of success they achieve in hitting the target.

Example: A Tau Horde fires at 3 marines with their Pulse Rifles. They miss one, and hit the other two with only one degree of success each. When rolling for damage against each marine, they may only apply +1d10 to their damage roll. Note that they have an unspent bonus damage roll that cannot be allocated. Also, they may not stack both bonus damage against one marine, as only one degree of success was achieved versus each target.

What do you think? I realize this is a big nerf to Horde damage... but that was kind of the intent.

 

 

It's not a bad idea... however, how are you going to play this off to the player that gets hosed with all 3D10's worth of damage? I'm sure there is method to the hordes madness when you do this, but from a players perspective... it smacks of GM metagaming and the whole "It's me vs. the players" mentality... whether that is your intent or not.

In fact, there is nothing stopping the horde from killing a single player at a time with this. Then it REALLY looks bad from a players perspective. I feel that as a GM, all things must appear equal to the players. All damage should be evenly dispersed. Therefore, the original horde rules still work best for this. 

If anything, the sheer amount of damage thrown at the players will cause them to think more tactically, which in a combat situation, isn't a bad idea.

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 Personally, I don't like to use hordes for anything that could pose a threat individually (except for certain horde-oriented groups such as the orks and 'nids).  So one pack of raving cultists isn't too much different from another, which is fine by me, but 20 fire warriors are still 20 fire warriors, and WAY more dangerous than a fire-warrior "horde" of any given magnitude, especially when they work together.  (Drones, on the other hand, are about the only Tau horde I'd use).

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To be honest I don't see why damage from Hordes needs any fixing. I've found that the damage from Hordes is entirely fine, so long as the GM is being reasonable and doesn't make something stupid-powerful like Genestealers or Crisis Suits into a Horde, as those are meant to be individual opponents. The damage from crappy Hordes (like Guardsmen, Chaos Heretics) is small but they act as a tarpit, which is what they're supposed to do. Damage from better hordes (like Kroot or Tau Fire Warriors, or a Horde with heavy stubbers) is much more respectable and is enough to make them big targets for Marines, and that is what they're supposed to do IMO. I think that melee-oriented Hordes are generally more dangerous than ranged-oriented Hordes (especially when they have Lightning Attack or Swift Attack) due to the difference in the number of potential attacks, and that is something that needs to be addressed, but the damage of Hordes is fine as it is.

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Or sorry, generic Alien X Horde.

My point is that no matter what tactics you are employing, your marines are going to get shot. And any player getting hit for 40 damage on a "lucky roll" is going to be pissed off, is all I'm saying. So adapt the rules, or risk killing your characters in a normal combat scenario where they cannot even dodge (due to Horde fire).

 

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ak-73 said:

I think I disagree with your assumption already. A platoon of fire warriors should give a 4-men kill-team pause for thought. These are not lowly Orks with hunting rifles.

 Alex

 

Then perhaps they shouldn't be managed as a Horde? In my mind Hordes are nameless masses that one on one are no match for a Space Marine, but working together in a group may take one down. I wouldn't put Tau Fire Warriors in this classification.

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J-Tech said:

Or sorry, generic Alien X Horde.

My point is that no matter what tactics you are employing, your marines are going to get shot. And any player getting hit for 40 damage on a "lucky roll" is going to be pissed off, is all I'm saying. So adapt the rules, or risk killing your characters in a normal combat scenario where they cannot even dodge (due to Horde fire).

 

But dont you take off 8 for toughness and 6 - 8 for armour? then even a lucky shot only does 26 which would barely get the average marine into critical but probably wouldn't kill them - and then they burn a fate point. If there is no danger then why bother rolling?

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J-Tech said:

Or sorry, generic Alien X Horde.

My point is that no matter what tactics you are employing, your marines are going to get shot. And any player getting hit for 40 damage on a "lucky roll" is going to be pissed off, is all I'm saying. So adapt the rules, or risk killing your characters in a normal combat scenario where they cannot even dodge (due to Horde fire).

 

Please note that you can dodge horde ranged attacks, just not melee ones.

I also have not run into a problem with horde damage, I was just commenting on your proposed idea. 

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Darq said:

 

ak-73 said:

 

I think I disagree with your assumption already. A platoon of fire warriors should give a 4-men kill-team pause for thought. These are not lowly Orks with hunting rifles.

 Alex

 

 

Then perhaps they shouldn't be managed as a Horde? In my mind Hordes are nameless masses that one on one are no match for a Space Marine, but working together in a group may take one down. I wouldn't put Tau Fire Warriors in this classification.

 

 

 

I don't get hung up on the name though. Hordes aren't nameless masses. Instead hordes are a game term for a group of enemies who wouldn't be a threat in small numbers and for whom a mechanic exists to speed up combat resolution.

Me, as a GM, I wouldn't want to manage 30 fire warriors individually probably. So the horde mechanic works well enough.

 

As I have said, my biggest contention is that hordes need to be able to reserve fire/attacks/combatants to be able to react and to interdict enemy movement. A pool mechanic similar to the old shadowrun combat pool would be in order.

 

That way it could work like this: "Oh, you want to charge the firewarrior platoon? While you're speeding towards the enemy intense defensive fire is coming your direction (roll to hit for the overwatch/delayed action of part of the horde, Marine gets wounded, has to roll for pinning, succeeds)... okay, you make it through the suppressive Pulse Rifle fire to the firewarriors and can hack away."

 

I think such a mechanic is indispensable.

 

Alex

 

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J-Tech said:

Really, so you're totally fine with a single 30 Mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors hitting 3 marines in one turn for 5d10 damage each? I see.

 

As already said, hordes max at +2d10.  So, your 30 Mag of Fire warriors would do 4d10+2 Pen 4.  Likely firing on full auto, that is up to 12 attacks of 4d10+2 Pen 4 each.  Each attack would average 22 Pen 4 damage, doing 6-8 damage to the average marine.  Max damage would be 42 Pen 4, for a max damage of 26-28 damage.

Is that scary?  Yep.  Should it be?  Yep.  A Mag 30 horde of fire warriors is a pretty beefy foe.  Probably more than I would throw at a raw kill-team, or if I did, I'd give an alternative or route via cover to negate some of that damage.  Charging an dug in group of fire warriors across open ground is not very smart.  

But, assuming your marines were a bit more experienced, they may have bumped their T, Dodge/Ag, or grabbed a combat shield to increase their resiliency.

I do think ak-73's idea has some merit, however.  I'd probably let a horde 'reserve' one ranged attack for Overwatch, provided they didn't move that turn.

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J-Tech said:

Really, so you're totally fine with a single 30 Mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors hitting 3 marines in one turn for 5d10 damage each? I see.

I don't think anybody's fine with that, because that's not how it works.

Damage bonus from magnitude, as was mentioned earlier, is +2d10 at most, so any Horde of Fire Warriors, Drones, etc of Magnitude 20 or higher deals 4d10+2 damage, whether they're Magnitude 21 or Magnitude 200. Similarly a Magnitude 30 Horde of Fire Warriors would get 4 attacks, not 3, due to the Fire Drill Trait (+1 ranged attack for a Horde).

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Yes. I would be fine with that. For several reasons:

1) Average damage would be high but not insta-kill, especially if the players use a fate point to negate some of the wounds, and marines take half of the critical damage anyway. Plus the Apothecary can heal lots of damage in Deathwatch. A lucky roll will kill the character, yes. But guess what? It's 40k and **** happens, it's deadly, even Space Marines die occasionally. I've killed characters with lucky damage rolls in Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader and so far my players haven't complained because it is understood that this is a dangerous universe. And if they really like their characters, they can burn fate points. I can always give them new ones later.

2) The damage is high but it's supposed to be high. These aren't Ork shootas (which by the way, as a Horde barely ping SM armour and toughness), these are Tau guns. Have you read any of the fluff? The novels? Codices? Played TT? There is a bloody good reason why the Damocles Gulf Crusade which included several companies of various Astartes ground to a halt even before the 'nids showed up. Furthermore, as some of the good folks in this thread already argued, Tau Fire Warriors CAN be made into a Horde (they are Trooper type after all), but that does not accurately represent Tau tactics or their superior equipment. And it doesn't mean that Tau SHOULD be made into a Horde. And further still, that Tau horde is buggered once Marines get into melee (which is pretty easy for an Assault Marine), or use anti-Horde weaponry and abilities (Unrelenting Devastation, Metal Storm rounds, Avenger psyker power and other AOE powers, etc etc etc).

3) I think you're misreading how many times a Horde can attack using ranged weapons. Unlike a Horde in melee which gets to attack every adjacent opponent with every single attack (so if it has two melee attacks per round it gets to attack each opponent twice), Hordes with ranged weapons do not get nearly as many potential attacks. They get to attack a number of times equal to the first digit of their magnitude if memory serves. Your hypothetical Mag 30 Horde needs to lose only one 1 Mag damage, and all of a sudden they're down from 3 to 2 attacks a round. Furthermore, to make the most out of the Horde's ranged attacks they need weapons with semi-auto or full-auto modes, so that they can get more hits per attack. And guess what, the BS of most opponents in DH/RT/DW leaves much to be desired, so on average they won't be generating as many hits per burst as a Space Marine.

4) I think that trying to weasle out of using your own Tau example and substituting it with 'generic alien race X' is wrong. You purposefully used that particular example using a race and equipment that guarantees just about the highest possible ranged damage for a Horde using Deathwatch antagonists. You then used that particular example to argue that Horde damage is somehow broken and needs to be fixed. Well I could take a genestealer or Tyranid Warrior, make it into a Horde and then cry how Horde rules are overpowered. Sorry, that's not how it works.

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 Also, let's assume a player does face down the barrel of 4d10+2 horde damage.  On average, this will be 5.5*4 damage, which is 22+2.  Let's call it 24 for the sake of argument.  On average, it will hit the player in the chest (-6 vs Tau Guns), so now it's 18.  We remove at least another 8 from the Toughness Bonus, so 10.  This hurts, clearly, so what can be done to help?  Well, for starters, how about a squad defensive mode?  Soak Fire can let the hits be spread out between the team, Go to Ground can let the Marine get to cover quickly in the start of the fight, and Dig In can be used to double the effectiveness of any given cover.  Feel No Pain reduces the damage itself from 10 to 5.  Immovable Defense reduces the damage by 4 to 8 and increases the chance of dodging by 10%.

 

Now, let's talk cover.  Yeah, you're a bad-ass Space Marine, but you know what?  Cover is still your friend.  Thin metal and armour-glass offer AP 4, which negates the penetration of the Tau rifle, reducing damage again by 4.  Flakboard and sandbags reduce each shot by 8, rockcrete, thick iron, and stone, by 16, and by the time you get to armaplas and plasteel, they might as well not even be shooting you.

 

Worried about getting killed by the horde of shooty xeno scum?  Take cover.  Even better if your team has taken the Oath of Knowledge.  Not only do you get +10 to WS and BS vs a chosen enemy (in this case, Tau), but you get Go to Ground and Dig In, which are fantastic when dealing with Tau sneak attacks.  Strongpoint ain't bad either for showing them the might of the Astartes.  Automatically getting to cover, doubling it for the worst of the assault, and then blasting back to get the upper hand might just do the trick.

 

Hordes are not just tools to make players feel like badasses, they're a tool for the GM to throw something at the players that alone wouldn't be much of a threat, but combined might make them sweat a little.

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J-Tech said:

Really, so you're totally fine with a single 30 Mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors hitting 3 marines in one turn for 5d10 damage each? I see.

Don't use the Horde rules?

Kage

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Tau fire warriors seem to be a very special case. From what I remember they are the only Troop type enemy that can actually harm a Space Marine individually when armed with basic equipment. All the other basic troopers need to be used in a horde if they are going to be any threat. However, Fire Warriors have abilities that only work as a horde (their traits), and while they can hurt a Space Marine it isn't that likely to do much damage individually, and they certainly do not last long when hit.

Whoops, forgot that gun drones can damage Space Marines as well, but then they are rubbish.

Personally if you are wanting them to be a nuisance only then they are probably best played individually, while if you want them to pose a serious threat get together a couple modest sized hordes. They can do serious damage, but don't have them being so large that they get loads of shots.

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The background I've seen for Tau leans heavily towards smaller, highly mobile units as opposed to masses of troops. That and they love ambushes.

Take three hordes of ten magnitude each. With fire drill, they each get two shots. So pretty vicious if they get the on a kill-team. But the return fire will smash them to pieces. And it doesn't bear thinking about what an assault marine will do to them in turn.

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J-Tech said:

Really, so you're totally fine with a single 30 Mag Horde of Tau Fire Warriors hitting 3 marines in one turn for 5d10 damage each? I see.

Regardless of the actual amount of attacks and damage the horde could cause... yeah, the above would be fine. If you are using a horde that causes that much damage then you are doing so for a reason. Clearly you, as a GM, need a horde that can seriously threaten the Marines. Otherwise you would have used a smaller horde, right?

Sometimes you need such a horde to make the players stop and think. Do they engage and if so, how? Can they ambush them, hit them before they can react, flank them etc.

Saying that such a horde does too much damage is like saying that a bio-titan causes too much damage. It's supposed to be a threat. Putting the players up against enemies that can't threaten then quickly gets boring.

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