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Why use Plasma Guns?

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Where I see Plasma as kinda viable outside of my described Ambush scenario is with Apothecaries, Tech-Marines and Librariens. The Tactical Marine gets free special ammo and potential bonus to damage and toHit with a Bolter, he won't change to plasma. The Devastator and the Heavy Bolter are talked about in great detail in many threads here, so lets just say, no reason to switch to plasma.

Generally lower BS value in these specialities, and really usefull Skills to use during recharge. So for example, 1st Round : Shoot the bad guys with maximal Setting, 2nd Round: First Aid, restore 11 - 17 wounds to your Devastator who draws fire like nobody else.  

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Whizzer said:

Where I see Plasma as kinda viable outside of my described Ambush scenario is with Apothecaries, Tech-Marines and Librariens. The Tactical Marine gets free special ammo and potential bonus to damage and toHit with a Bolter, he won't change to plasma. The Devastator and the Heavy Bolter are talked about in great detail in many threads here, so lets just say, no reason to switch to plasma.

Generally lower BS value in these specialities, and really usefull Skills to use during recharge. So for example, 1st Round : Shoot the bad guys with maximal Setting, 2nd Round: First Aid, restore 11 - 17 wounds to your Devastator who draws fire like nobody else.  

The Heavy Bolter isn't limited to the Devastator though.

 

Alex

 

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ak-73 said:

Whizzer said:

 

Where I see Plasma as kinda viable outside of my described Ambush scenario is with Apothecaries, Tech-Marines and Librariens. The Tactical Marine gets free special ammo and potential bonus to damage and toHit with a Bolter, he won't change to plasma. The Devastator and the Heavy Bolter are talked about in great detail in many threads here, so lets just say, no reason to switch to plasma.

Generally lower BS value in these specialities, and really usefull Skills to use during recharge. So for example, 1st Round : Shoot the bad guys with maximal Setting, 2nd Round: First Aid, restore 11 - 17 wounds to your Devastator who draws fire like nobody else.  

 

 

The Heavy Bolter isn't limited to the Devastator though.

 

Alex

 

It's not a terrible plan, and does give the weapon a place.  Though specialty ammo isn't limited to the tac.  Those kraken shells cost 5 req, that plasma gun costs you 20.  Maybe if you had a pretty low BS and couldn't expect to score more than 2DoS on a burst, the plasma isn't terrible (as one of the keys to the bolter IS it's rate of fire, though tearing is still at play here as you have a 20% chance of RF with the plasma and a 27% chance with the bolter). 

But the place you've found, to me, still doesn't feel like a 20 req upgrade to my standard issue death dealing bolter.  It also feels totally wrong given the (albeit limited) stories I've read and table top sessions I've played.  It feels to me like you're swapping your bolter for a weapon that does marginally better damage and sacrificing the ability to fire each round.  At that trade off it should be 5 or 10 req.  For 20 req and a respected rank, I can get a power sword/axe for my assault marine (so he will do 21-25 damage per swing given the 1d10+6/8 damage profile and his +10/12 strength modifier) or if I'm buying for myself, buy a storm bolter (so I get to double the number of hits I do with the bolter, so those 2DoS = 4 hits, but if I get lucky and get 4DoS I get 8 hits) and when I have to relaod I get 2 full round actions (given that the plasma, for some reason, takes FOUR full rounds to reload) added back to my life expectancy.

Or for that matter if you're looking for single shot destruction, pick yourself up a missle launcher for 10 req and you'll get a 'standard' loadout of 8 (or if your GM is moderately generous 16-24) missles.  This will give you the ability to dole out 4d10+6 pen 10 blast 1 for krak missles, or 2d10 pen 4 blast 8 devestating 1 for frag.

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Man hearing this debate makes me and my group look like a power gamers.  We try and keep the weapons close to the table top and the fluff where possible.  A krak missle on the table top is one strength point higher than a plasma gun and melta weapons are the same strength as a krak missle.  In order to maintain some lore/balance we have adjusted both plasma and melta damage.  Plasma and melta are base 2d10 and plasma on maximal is 3d10 and melta ingores 1/3 of a vehicles armor and anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the armor bonus cover gives..  With plasma though we don't allow the rule to drop a overheated weapon on maiximal.  If it overloads you take all the damage as the gun goes nuts in your hand.  Personnaly I like this as it gives the plasma gun a much more TT feel to it.

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Taking the tabletop as the classic point, both are rapid fire and so do 'roughly' the same potential number of kills, though. Unfortunately that doesn't hold up to inspection in Deathwatch. The plasma gun should give a surer chance of death from a hit (greater damage in a single shot) and be more comparable to the bolter in number.

Here is a suggestion which I don't think has been covered: Make the plasma gun "S/3/-". 

Diverting away from the 'used by Lib/Tech/Apoth' route, the requirement to get 4 DoS to really deal immense damage via the plasma gun would put it more into favour with the higher-BS tactical marine. 

I'm personally quite happy with the +3 Pen and +5 Dam changes others have suggested, but would note that moving from 2 to 3 on Semi-Auto feels much more...appropriate. And by, what I shall call Occam's Taser, this would involve one stat-line change, not two. 

Any sense in this line of thinking?

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Taking the tabletop as the classic point, both are rapid fire and so do 'roughly' the same potential number of kills, though. Unfortunately that doesn't hold up to inspection in Deathwatch. The plasma gun should give a surer chance of death from a hit (greater damage in a single shot) and be more comparable to the bolter in number.

Here is a suggestion which I don't think has been covered: Make the plasma gun "S/3/-". 

Diverting away from the 'used by Lib/Tech/Apoth' route, the requirement to get 4 DoS to really deal immense damage via the plasma gun would put it more into favour with the higher-BS tactical marine. 

I'm personally quite happy with the +3 Pen and +5 Dam changes others have suggested, but would note that moving from 2 to 3 on Semi-Auto feels much more...appropriate. And by, what I shall call Occam's Taser, this would involve one stat-line change, not two. 

Any sense in this line of thinking?

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I can see what you're doing there, and it would make plasma a better option for more skilled Space Marines. Personally, I'm in favour of upping the damage and/or penetration of plasma and melta weapons. By background, they're incredibly lethal. By DW rules, they're marginally better than bolt weapons. This seems...odd.

 

Has anyone done much playtesting with all these suggested plasma/melta rule changes?

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Decessor said:

I can see what you're doing there, and it would make plasma a better option for more skilled Space Marines. Personally, I'm in favour of upping the damage and/or penetration of plasma and melta weapons. By background, they're incredibly lethal. By DW rules, they're marginally better than bolt weapons. This seems...odd.

 

Has anyone done much playtesting with all these suggested plasma/melta rule changes?

No but I suggest once more a thread I have created in the House Rules section about making the weapons more like in the 40K TT.

 

Alex

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ak-73 said:

Decessor said:

 

I can see what you're doing there, and it would make plasma a better option for more skilled Space Marines. Personally, I'm in favour of upping the damage and/or penetration of plasma and melta weapons. By background, they're incredibly lethal. By DW rules, they're marginally better than bolt weapons. This seems...odd.

 

Has anyone done much playtesting with all these suggested plasma/melta rule changes?

 

 

No but I suggest once more a thread I have created in the House Rules section about making the weapons more like in the 40K TT.

 

Alex

Regardless of whether you want to make them more like Table-top (Which I don't believe is an accurate representation of the setting) or the novels (which I believe are the accurate assessment of the setting) plasma weapons in both are terribly lethal. 

So are melta weapons. The real question should be this:

Since a plasma weapon and a boltgun have the same firing modes in the Tabletop game and in the fluff, why doesn't the plasma gun / pistol match the Boltgun / pistol in their ROF? If it did, then I'm sure that this issue would never have existed amongst us players. 

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SpawnoChaos said:

ak-73 said:

 

Decessor said:

 

I can see what you're doing there, and it would make plasma a better option for more skilled Space Marines. Personally, I'm in favour of upping the damage and/or penetration of plasma and melta weapons. By background, they're incredibly lethal. By DW rules, they're marginally better than bolt weapons. This seems...odd.

 

Has anyone done much playtesting with all these suggested plasma/melta rule changes?

 

 

No but I suggest once more a thread I have created in the House Rules section about making the weapons more like in the 40K TT.

 

Alex

 

 

Regardless of whether you want to make them more like Table-top (Which I don't believe is an accurate representation of the setting) or the novels (which I believe are the accurate assessment of the setting) plasma weapons in both are terribly lethal. 

So are melta weapons. The real question should be this:

Since a plasma weapon and a boltgun have the same firing modes in the Tabletop game and in the fluff, why doesn't the plasma gun / pistol match the Boltgun / pistol in their ROF? If it did, then I'm sure that this issue would never have existed amongst us players. 

 

If DW ROF is appoximately Tabletop ROF x 2 and we assign Rapid Fire a Value of 1.5, we land an approximate ROF of 3. So it's not too far off in either case. I understand the tendency to give the bolter more shots and the plasma less. But if you do that, you need to give the plasma more punch.

Or as you said give them more shots. I prefer the less ROF, more punch solution.

 

Alex

 

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I'm comparing the heavy bolter and the plasma cannon, and I just can't see the numbers to support using the cannon against armored foes.

 

A Heavy Bolter, especially held by a devastator, will hit six times easily.  Even against a heavily armored creature (like a Hive Tyrant), with average damage of about 30, this will cause around 30 damage, with multiple chances for fury.  A plasma cannon is likely to do around 15 damage in maximal mode.

Against a horde, the bolter will kill seven targets, the cannon will kill three.  Held by a devastator, the bolter still holds a lead, or does even better depending on how you read the rules.

It seems to me that the cannon is worse against heavily armored foes, and worse against hordes. 

 

Feel free to check my math:

Ballistics skill 60 +10 for Motion Predictor +20 for full-auto +10 conservatively for size of target (+10 more if you are a devastator).  On a roll of 50 (average) this means five degrees of success plus the initial shot.

Since our target's armor+toughnes is 25, penetration will simply be added in to damage total below

Bolter: 2D10(with tearing, an average of 14ish) +16 = 30 per hit

6 hits x 5 damage = 30 total

Cannon: 3d10 (average of about 17)+23 = 40  

1 hit x 15 damage = 15 total and this can only be done every other turn...

 

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Scoates said:

I'm comparing the heavy bolter and the plasma cannon, and I just can't see the numbers to support using the cannon against armored foes.

 

A Heavy Bolter, especially held by a devastator, will hit six times easily.  Even against a heavily armored creature (like a Hive Tyrant), with average damage of about 30, this will cause around 30 damage, with multiple chances for fury.  A plasma cannon is likely to do around 15 damage in maximal mode.

Against a horde, the bolter will kill seven targets, the cannon will kill three.  Held by a devastator, the bolter still holds a lead, or does even better depending on how you read the rules.

It seems to me that the cannon is worse against heavily armored foes, and worse against hordes. 

 

Feel free to check my math:

Ballistics skill 60 +10 for Motion Predictor +20 for full-auto +10 conservatively for size of target (+10 more if you are a devastator).  On a roll of 50 (average) this means five degrees of success plus the initial shot.

Since our target's armor+toughnes is 25, penetration will simply be added in to damage total below

Bolter: 2D10(with tearing, an average of 14ish) +16 = 30 per hit

6 hits x 5 damage = 30 total

Cannon: 3d10 (average of about 17)+23 = 40  

1 hit x 15 damage = 15 total and this can only be done every other turn...

 

Aside from some of your assumptions about the devestator (the BS which is variable, and only some of the dev's get the +10, you get to pick one of the two dev abilities, you don't get both) you are correct, the heavy bolter (as mentioned on 100 different threads) will do better than the Plasma Cannon in most situations.  Same is true of the multi-melta.  The only heavy that outdoes the trusty HB in the RAW is the Lascannon, and that's only against single targets (you get 2x the range, solid AP, and strong singlular damage). 

The plasma in the RAW will out perform the HB if the horde it's firing at has a very high AP/Toughness that you can't penetrate reliably with each shot from the HB.

You could consider upping the damage of the canon, the one fear being is it would then get too close to the lascannon/multi-melta.  Or if you use AK's TT rules(http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?efid=213&efcid=3&efidt=402341&efpag=0) the ROF of the HB is reduced to 6 and the damage bonus reduced to +8 (from 10), which may put it closer in line.  There was some discussion towards the end of that thread that the storm quality then becomes better than the HB due to the reduced number of DoS you need to get the most out of your gun, but it was thought that the HB may still have enough damage and pen over the storm bolter as to keep it's edge.

We'll see if any of the damages get updates in the errata (coming in early January!), but I doubt they'd make wholesale changes. 

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Scoates said:

I'm comparing the heavy bolter and the plasma cannon, and I just can't see the numbers to support using the cannon against armored foes.

 

A Heavy Bolter, especially held by a devastator, will hit six times easily.  Even against a heavily armored creature (like a Hive Tyrant), with average damage of about 30, this will cause around 30 damage, with multiple chances for fury.  A plasma cannon is likely to do around 15 damage in maximal mode.

Against a horde, the bolter will kill seven targets, the cannon will kill three.  Held by a devastator, the bolter still holds a lead, or does even better depending on how you read the rules.

It seems to me that the cannon is worse against heavily armored foes, and worse against hordes. 

 

Feel free to check my math:

Ballistics skill 60 +10 for Motion Predictor +20 for full-auto +10 conservatively for size of target (+10 more if you are a devastator).  On a roll of 50 (average) this means five degrees of success plus the initial shot.

Since our target's armor+toughnes is 25, penetration will simply be added in to damage total below

Bolter: 2D10(with tearing, an average of 14ish) +16 = 30 per hit

6 hits x 5 damage = 30 total

Cannon: 3d10 (average of about 17)+23 = 40  

1 hit x 15 damage = 15 total and this can only be done every other turn...

 

HT is +30 to hit, I think. However it's a bit more complex if he is shielded by Hive Guards, etc.

Do as I suggest and set the HB Damage to 2d10+8 (other bollters get 2d10+4) and ROF to 6 (or 7). Suddenly your hit average will be more around 5 and damage at 3 per hit.

The Plasma Cannon otoh has the advantage that you not only hit the Hive Tyrant but possibly any Hive Guards near him. Or better yet if your GM decides that a leg hit strikes the Hive Guard in front of the Hive Tyrant. Then the blast radius might mean that HT is affected.

 

And it stacks out a bit more favourably against the Daemon Prince because against him the +2 Pen of max mode has an effect.

 

Alex

 

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ak-73 said:

 

HT is +30 to hit, I think. However it's a bit more complex if he is shielded by Hive Guards, etc.

Do as I suggest and set the HB Damage to 2d10+8 (other bollters get 2d10+4) and ROF to 6 (or 7). Suddenly your hit average will be more around 5 and damage at 3 per hit.

The Plasma Cannon otoh has the advantage that you not only hit the Hive Tyrant but possibly any Hive Guards near him. Or better yet if your GM decides that a leg hit strikes the Hive Guard in front of the Hive Tyrant. Then the blast radius might mean that HT is affected.

 

And it stacks out a bit more favourably against the Daemon Prince because against him the +2 Pen of max mode has an effect.

 

Alex

While reading this thread I have changed my mind, you are correct that plasma is to costly Req - Wise for its rather minimal benefits.

So how about leaving Dam and Pen as is and adding Felling(1) or Felling(2)  to Plasmas maximal Mode? Its a simpler change, but would give plasma an edge against single strong enemies.

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Whizzer said:

ak-73 said:

 

 

HT is +30 to hit, I think. However it's a bit more complex if he is shielded by Hive Guards, etc.

Do as I suggest and set the HB Damage to 2d10+8 (other bollters get 2d10+4) and ROF to 6 (or 7). Suddenly your hit average will be more around 5 and damage at 3 per hit.

The Plasma Cannon otoh has the advantage that you not only hit the Hive Tyrant but possibly any Hive Guards near him. Or better yet if your GM decides that a leg hit strikes the Hive Guard in front of the Hive Tyrant. Then the blast radius might mean that HT is affected.

 

And it stacks out a bit more favourably against the Daemon Prince because against him the +2 Pen of max mode has an effect.

 

Alex

 

 

While reading this thread I have changed my mind, you are correct that plasma is to costly Req - Wise for its rather minimal benefits.

So how about leaving Dam and Pen as is and adding Felling(1) or Felling(2)  to Plasmas maximal Mode? Its a simpler change, but would give plasma an edge against single strong enemies.

 

But not against light to medium armoured vehicles, one of the domains of plasma.

 

Alex

 

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 Moreso, you mean.

 

For Plasma weapons, how about simply reducing damage by 5 and adding d10 while changing volatile so that it causes RF on a 9-10 (although obviously using 'sensible' RF rules).

It's a very simple change that would make a lot of difference.

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ak-73 said:

So how about leaving Dam and Pen as is and adding Felling(1) or Felling(2)  to Plasmas maximal Mode? Its a simpler change, but would give plasma an edge against single strong enemies.

 

 

 

But not against light to medium armoured vehicles, one of the domains of plasma.

 

Alex

 

And this is why the kraken rounds with their surprisingly high benefits to very low cost seem off to me.  They're so cheap you're bound to buy at least a clip of them, and it puts your AP within a hairs breadth of the pen of the plasma and lascannon (though meltas still beat you, as they should, but have that super short range). 

And don't get me wrong, I love the ideas and themes behind specialty ammo and keeping the old reliable boltguns the flexible weapon of choice, it just seems like the 'special weapons' lose a bit of their niche when they're outperformed in most arenas.

As for the master crafting with specialty ammo, this seems like a case of the system being tested for the middle (as with the development of any system you tend to do) and not for the edges.  I love the simplicity of the "just add your bonuses and subtract your negatives" methodology but it often does lead to some surprisingly easy and unintentional exploits.  Though I do have to say a Master Crafted Heavy bolter is a pretty high 40 req, which does put it in the realm of conversion beams and digital weapons; it's then above assault cannons, lascannons, and finally above the plasma cannon.  You may argue (depending on how much req you give out and what if any modifications you've made to the assault cannon such as the storm quality) that it's not that much of an exploit.

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Siranui said:

 Moreso, you mean.

 

For Plasma weapons, how about simply reducing damage by 5 and adding d10 while changing volatile so that it causes RF on a 9-10 (although obviously using 'sensible' RF rules).

It's a very simple change that would make a lot of difference.

My gut says beware of RF changes, but that's just a knee jerk response happy.gif.

You know as I look at the TT entry for Plasma cannon, the only thing it has over it's smaller brother is the blast quality and range.  It's 36" versus 24", same strength and AP, but has the heavy 1 and blast trait added to it.  They both have the get's hot! rule which is represented probably by volatile.  Looking at it's TT profile I can't see what's so hot about it (ba dum tish!).

Maybe you could modify it by increasing the blast to say 2 or 3?  Hell, an astartest Krak missle has a blast 1, it seems the plasma should do a little more than that, right?  Then just leave the rest of the stats alone.  Then on maximal you'd have a blast 4 or 5, 3d10, pen 12?  Would that be enough?

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Charmander said:

 

ak-73 said:

So how about leaving Dam and Pen as is and adding Felling(1) or Felling(2) to Plasmas maximal Mode? Its a simpler change, but would give plasma an edge against single strong enemies.

But not against light to medium armoured vehicles, one of the domains of plasma.

Alex

And this is why the kraken rounds with their surprisingly high benefits to very low cost seem off to me. They're so cheap you're bound to buy at least a clip of them, and it puts your AP within a hairs breadth of the pen of the plasma and lascannon (though meltas still beat you, as they should, but have that super short range).

And don't get me wrong, I love the ideas and themes behind specialty ammo and keeping the old reliable boltguns the flexible weapon of choice, it just seems like the 'special weapons' lose a bit of their niche when they're outperformed in most arenas.

As for the master crafting with specialty ammo, this seems like a case of the system being tested for the middle (as with the development of any system you tend to do) and not for the edges. I love the simplicity of the "just add your bonuses and subtract your negatives" methodology but it often does lead to some surprisingly easy and unintentional exploits. Though I do have to say a Master Crafted Heavy bolter is a pretty high 40 req, which does put it in the realm of conversion beams and digital weapons; it's then above assault cannons, lascannons, and finally above the plasma cannon. You may argue (depending on how much req you give out and what if any modifications you've made to the assault cannon such as the storm quality) that it's not that much of an exploit.

 

 


But we have just established that a normal HB is at least on par with the Plasma Cannon.

In DW ROF is what matters. Because you can get several bonuses to damage (and/or Pen) that stack. If you add-in master-crafted, Kraken rounds and mighty shot, the Heavy Bolter is an incredible killing package.

2d10+14 Pen 8 Tearing ar ROF 10? Yes please.

What does it mean for the Hive Tyrant? If 6 shots hit on average you roll up 28 damage on average that means 6x11= 66 against a remaining soak of 17. (Oh and another +2 per hit if you play a Tactical with Bolter Expertise for 78 pts total. Not to mention that things like signum links and Bolter Drill can increase the number of hits enormously.)

That outclasses the Plasma Cannon in a manner it should not. The problem here is that small changes have a big cumulative effect with a high ROF. One possible remedy would be given the Plasma Cannon a ROF of S/2/- but I am not too fond of that.

 

Alex

 

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ak-73 said:

But we have just established that a normal HB is at least on par with the Plasma Cannon.

In DW ROF is what matters. Because you can get several bonuses to damage (and/or Pen) that stack. If you add-in master-crafted, Kraken rounds and mighty shot, the Heavy Bolter is an incredible killing package.

2d10+14 Pen 8 Tearing ar ROF 10? Yes please.

What does it mean for the Hive Tyrant? If 6 shots hit on average you roll up 28 damage on average that means 6x11= 66 against a remaining soak of 17. (Oh and another +2 per hit if you play a Tactical with Bolter Expertise for 78 pts total. Not to mention that things like signum links and Bolter Drill can increase the number of hits enormously.)

That outclasses the Plasma Cannon in a manner it should not. The problem here is that small changes have a big cumulative effect with a high ROF. One possible remedy would be given the Plasma Cannon a ROF of S/2/- but I am not too fond of that.

 

Alex

 

I agree, autofire is king in 40kRP, especially with the 'little bit of this and that' boosts to damage, pen, etc.  There are times that I hate the lack of 'realism' behind it, but other times it just feels like it fits the setting.

I'm not a fan of giving the cannon an additional shot a round either- what do you think of the other ideas though- increase blast to give it a different niche, increase the damage by a die to increase it's punch, or increase it's RF chance which gives you the chance to go from moderate damage to crazytown (which may be appropriate given the fluff surrounding plasma- maybe sometimes that miniature sun supernovas)?

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Plasma Cannon blast. Up its Pen and/or Blast, seems reasonable to me.

RoF strikes me as dodgy way to go, mainly because it has more than a hint of 'eh?' to it, it doesn't make *thematic* sense to me. 

Increased blast would certainly make the most sense. A bigger blast than Multimelta, enough to make it attractive and effective?

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I imagine most of us are altering RF rules to only be +1d10, instead of full damage, right?

Perhaps alter volatile to deal the damage as per DW rules, rolling full weapon damage. Not a particularly reliable upgrade, but it basically means it has a 10% chance of making an enemy pretty much go poof.

Or perhaps having volatile RF on a 9-10 or even 8-10. Once again, unreliable, but spectacular results.

 

On a completely different note though, I do think it is "balanced" to have a 20 requisition point item provide only 1 or 2 points more in damage over a 0 req item.

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*Facepalm*

4 pages of numbers and half-baked house rules...all totally missing the point.

Deathwatch is a roleplaying game.

Why use plasma guns?

Plasma guns are incredibly rare and ancient weapons, wielded by countless battle brothers for centuries before you.  To be allowed to take one into battle is an incredible honour that any marine would be proud to be given the chance to do.

Plasma guns measure status and bestow prestige on the user. 

If you're roleplaying, that's pretty much the last word.

 

Company Commander Hexor: 'Brother Thaddeus, you have shown your valour time and again, and in recognition of this we present you with 'Omnia Morta'.  This plasma weapon has been with our chapter for sixty centuries.  Taking it into battle you will take our proud traditions and the memories of all who weilded it before you'.

Brother Thaddeus: 'Um, naah...your alright their mate, i'll stick with me bolter.  Those plasma guns suck'.

*Groan*

 

 

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Here's a random thought on plasma weaons and Volatile in particular, when you read Volatile, it says you roll a d10 when you RF (almost reading like RF should be DH style, which we almost all agree is best), however, when you read RF, you roll the damage again, I wonder if the intention with volatile is that you would roll an extra d10 of simply volatile damage (added to the regular RF d10s of damage). So, using regular RF rules, instead of rolling 1d10 extra damage, with a plasma weapon, you'd roll 2d10.

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