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Stannis Ravensight

Killing a Bloodthirster in 3 rounds. Your thoughts?

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So tonight, we encountered an internment camp of civilians on one of our planets overtaken cities that we'd lost, waiting to be ushered into the lovingly violent caress of Khorne via Daemon Pit. While delaying the summoning with Valkyrie runs and some artillery from local Guardsmen, the Dragon Warrior CSM's that are our main chaotic foe, finally decided to get it over with and herded the miserable civs into the pit, and lo and behold the Bloodthirster arose.

I'm a L4 Black Templar Tact. Champion, and was in solo mode while this occurred in order to take advantage of the effects of Righteous Zeal (Daemons/psykers gain no toughness bonus is an effect) Leaving the BLT (Bloodthirster) with only an armor save of 13 I believe.

It was fairly far away and I had enough time to take shots from the roof I'd climbed, so after getting a 3 hit full auto burst that did 52 damage after its save, it proceeded to utilize its impressive wingspan and leap onto my roof. Of course, it buckled in the roof, and I succeeded in a dodge roll to jump off the side of the building, taking 8 points of fall damage (It was only 1 floor). My other teammates, L4 Salamander Chaplain Apothecary and our L2 Ravenguard Assault were too far away at this point to do anything so initiation rolled around again and I was starting with a initiation of 16. Being the cheeky bastard I am, I hucked a couple of cryo grenades over the wall of the building, hoping they would fall in the gaping hole in the roof the BLT had made (which they did) and doing another 40 damage after armor save. that puts us at 192-52-40=100. Again at this point my fellow marines could not see our target and as such mopped up the few remaining CSM's that were in our area, leaving the field clear except for the BLT. The round ends and the BLT bursts through the wall of the building it'd crashed through, bits of frost and bolter scoring marring its abominal visage, it swung once each and myself and the Ravenguard, us both being on opposite sides of it after it barrelled through the wall. We successfully dodged it and our Salamanda Chaplains turn came up and he managed to miss his hits. Back to the top.

I purchased Leap Up as an elite advance and stood as a free action, flicked the fire mode onto full auto once more, got a 17, granting the needed 4 degrees of success (my BS is maxed at 60).I rolled 2 9's for my damage on a Skapulan Bolter (2d10+9) giving 27 damage per bolt. However I took Bolter Specialization when I made the character giving myself a +10 WS and +2 damage with bolt weapons, as well as having Mighty Shot, granting me an extra +4 points of damage, rounding out my shots at 31. 31x4=124.

Dead Bloodthirster in 3 rounds, and our GM was PISSED. This was our first encounter with a Bloodthirster and I don't know whether to be crazy proud of my character or concerned at being overpowered.

I ask you voice your thoughts about this situation, seeing as how the BLT is supposed to be one of the hardest bosses to fight yet it got dropped in 3 rounds, even though it was never able to engage someone in melee combat. Largely this is for benefit of our GM, the Salamnder, as he's unsure what to do now, after only one member of his kill-team single-handedly obliterated a Bloodthrister. On another point, now that that DID happen I'm worried about what he may try to throw at us next.

 

Just asking for your opinions about making the encounter last or if you're a GM and have a similar scenario of a what you hoped would be a challenging/difficult boss fight and it got shucked in the first few rounds, how you remedied the situation, or what you thought of for the next time it happens?

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given the way you tell the story it sounds like a combination of the daemon killing potential of righteous zeal, some luck, and the GM playing down the Bloodthirster so as to not instantly kill you.

I notice it doesn't seem to have dodged at all from the way you tell the story. I might be wrong about this?

Also in the round when it attacks you and the salamander and you both dodged, if it had attacked just one of you you probably wouldnt have dodged twice unless you both had step aside or wall of steel. say he attacked the Salamander who dodged once but then was hit by the second attack, Warp weapon ignores armour, felling ignores unnatural toughness. say for the sake of being conservative that the salamander had a TB of 9 without unnatural toughness, the maximum as far as I am aware (70 toughness and a bionic part) He would have suffered 3D10+12 wounds after soak. which would have really really messed him up.

Then when you dodge, I assume from the way you tell the story that you dodge away from the bloodthirster and end up on the ground out of combat. You should still be locked in melee with the bloodthirster by RAW. You can only move as a result of a dodge if you are dodging an area of effect attack like a blast or a flamer. That means you shouldn't have been able to use a skapulan bolter against the bloodthirster in the final round. Once it locked two of you in combat the only way for you to get out would either be to disengage or to take the extremely nasty free attack from a bloodthirster, who does 3D10+21 damage ignoring unnatural toughness and all but sanctified terminator armour.

 

So yes in summary, Black Templars do a lot of damage to Daemons, as they should do. Thats not broken, its just that you were exactly the right guy for the job. Having said that, I suspect that the bloodthirster never got a decent attack on any of you because if it had the GM knew it would probably have instantly killed you. Fights in deathwatch are short and bloody, and unfortunately this is just the way the system goes. but dont mistake a fight which ended quickly for a fight which was easy. A bloodthirster can kill a party in 3 rounds as easily as a party can kill it. It may very well go differently next time when you fight the Dagon Overlord (thats what I would throw at you next)

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Righteous Zeal doesn't completely negate the Daemon's TB for purposes of it mitigating damage from all your attacks. It only negates its TB against your melee attack damage. That's pretty clear in the text of Righteous Zeal and I haven't seen any errata that alters Righteous Zeal to apply it to ranged damage.

If your GM ran the encounter such that the Bloodthirster got no TB damage reduction against your ranged attacks and grenades because of Righteous Zeal, he ran it wrong or intentionally didn't follow the RAW of that Solo Mode.

If he didn't intend to run it wrong and it was just a derp all around, you can assure him that sending in another Bloodthirster would be a much different fight if you only negated all its TB in melee.

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Well, TBH, most encounters that I've run in DW to date are kill or be killed, and are done fairly quickly.  However it seems that the GM didn't play up the Bloodthirster to his full abilities either.

For Righeous Zeal, in addition to only working on melee attacks I'm pretty sure it ignored Daemonic trait, not unnatural toughness (the Bloodthirster has both).  And as Narkasis says, you'd have been locked in hand to hand- disengage is a full action and you only get a half move unless you have acrobatics (which most people don't).

As for his other powers- the axe, his whip, the supreme warrior ability, dodges, touched by the fates, preternatural speed say to me he should've been able to do more.  He can charge and hit three times, or use the whip at 10m, and should have friends everywhere around him to keep you preoccupied.

Lastly, it appears you're using the base weapon damages provided in the core rulebook and Rites of Battle- using the errate'd versions can make a huge difference.  With the original stats you can quite easily one-shot any master in the core book, so taking 3 rounds to slay a bloodthirster isn't much of a stretch.

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Kshatriya said:

Righteous Zeal doesn't completely negate the Daemon's TB for purposes of it mitigating damage from all your attacks. It only negates its TB against your melee attack damage. That's pretty clear in the text of Righteous Zeal and I haven't seen any errata that alters Righteous Zeal to apply it to ranged damage.

If your GM ran the encounter such that the Bloodthirster got no TB damage reduction against your ranged attacks and grenades because of Righteous Zeal, he ran it wrong or intentionally didn't follow the RAW of that Solo Mode.

If he didn't intend to run it wrong and it was just a derp all around, you can assure him that sending in another Bloodthirster would be a much different fight if you only negated all its TB in melee.

Charmander

Lastly, it appears you're using the base weapon damages provided in the core rulebook and Rites of Battle- using the errate'd versions can make a huge difference. With the original stats you can quite easily one-shot any master in the core book, so taking 3 rounds to slay a bloodthirster isn't much of a stretch.



Where is the errata? seen a good amount about it but me or our gm haven't bothered with checking it out yet.

I haven't looked at the Righteous Zeal ability since I made my character, and thought I had it written down correctly, but I forgot to write something to remind myself of it being melee only, so I took it as applying to all my attacks, ranged or melee. GM ran his end correctly, but my assumption screwed the encounter. He actually hadn't even thrown in the 40 dmg from the grenades on the BLT yet, we were all stoned, save the Raven.

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Charmander said:

For Righeous Zeal, in addition to only working on melee attacks I'm pretty sure it ignored Daemonic trait, not unnatural toughness (the Bloodthirster has both). 

Turns out I was wrong on this one- the rules pretty much just say if you have daemonic you don't get your TB to reduce damage, which is hardcore.  In the bigger picture, I wonder if that was intended or not, though having to be engaged in melee is a pretty big risk...

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Stannis Ravensight said:


Thanks Charmanda, though I didn't see something that referred to the skapulan specifically, but we're following that now.

The 'alternate' stats really come down to the flavor you want- I prefer them as while the Marines in my game kill the crap out of everything that moves I don't have to use 3 90 mag hordes, I can use 3 30s, which just feels better to me, and my Hive Tyrant lasts three rounds instead of 1. The weapons feel a little more balanced with each other (and the heavy bolter isn't the end all be all) and the beloved plasma and meltas fare better.

I've not used any relics in my game, and seem to have missed that the errata doesn't cover any of the relics. As a GM since the damage is slightly higher (2d10+9 versus 2d10+5), I'd probably give it a bump as well, something like 1d10+11 or so to scale with the basic boltgun and heavy bolter.

Your group may want to test out the new stuff a bit first before jumping in with both feet.  The new stats change people's load outs (especially sig wargear) and the reduced req per mission in the errata could mean you're already dealing with what feels like an equipment shortage.  Both players and GMs will need to adapt.

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Stannis Ravensight said:

Good points char, we tried it a little tonight for the few shots that were fired and we need to balance them with what they are, like the bolt pistol would not do the same 1d10+9 as a godwyn or stalker bolter. good to know about this though.

To be fair, the bolt pistol does the same damage as the Godwyn or the Stalker or the Hesh in the Core rules as well as the errata. Using the Core rules I think the design trade-off was the Godwyn had the range, full-auto capability, and larger magazine, but couldn't be used in melee. The pistol could be used in melee, had a higher semi-auto RoF, and cheaper special ammo. Under the errata, the Godwyn now has higher semi-auto RoF than the pistol, presumably to compensate for its loss of full-auto capability.

FWIW I think the pistol and basic weapons are supposed to use the same caliber of bolts; it's the heavy bolter that uses larger rounds. That's not a bad justification for doing the same damage, as the situational bonuses of when each is better still apply. Get jumped in melee = your bolter is useless, but your pistol can still take a shot, for example.

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Wow, it seems okay that the Imperium keeps the Grey Knights a secret, as they don't appear to be necessary, by this example. The biggest save for the players was that they avoided some of the melee combat, yes? And it seems to me that's what the GK strive for, but might not make it through. If a group of "regular" Marines can topple a Bloodthirster that quick, it almost seems that the GK need never be called in. Killing Hordes seems to be Space Marine's bread and butter, so swarms of lesser daemons should be only a small problem, and one that regular Marines can handle. If the "big daemon-killing" Space Marines, the Grey Knights, aren't needed to hit the biggest Daemons, then what scenario calls for them?

 

Okay, so I understand that a few little things were misinterpreted in the scenario at the beginning, and things might've gone a bit different if Khorne's Blade had focused on one Marine, and not lost the extra health from the Black Templar's ranged attacks, but they still did kill it, and it seems to me they probably still wou;d have, though it might have cost them a Black Templar. What does the GK bring that makes them so much more versus Daemons, then a group of other Marines? I have Daemon Hunter, and have flipped through the GK stuff numerous times (my favorite Chapter, even if no game is ever likely to let me play one full-time). Daemon Hunter looks very helpful, along with Hatred (Daemons), and I will always love Nemesis Force weapons, and getting a personal teleporter would make me happy, but they are often fluff-described as almost being to Space Marines what Space Marines are to Guardsmen. What's the big gap that sits between them? I know they seem to like melee combat with Daemons, but why will they not get splutched by the BTH, if the other Marines probably would have? Please help me to understand my favorite Chapter better? Thanks.

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If the encounter unfolds differently, there are a lot of things that can go different.

  • Bloodthirsters, as statted, have 2d10 daemons around them at all times (unless the GM thinks that's too rough)
  • They have an ability to make un-dodgable and un-parryable attacks
  • They have two weapons and swift attack
  • They can dodge and parry, just like any other character
  • They have preternatural speed like their daemon prince cousins, meaning they can make a charge attack (with all their other talents stacked on it) and then hit someone three times at the end of that charge
  • Core book weapon damage stats are considerably higher, and they increase your RF chances on most bolt weapons by about 8% per hit.  Combined with full auto fire, mighty shot, and other talents you can do crazy damage with the other guns and will cut down most of the book's enemies quickly without the enemy being very clever.
  • Without the ability to completely ignore toughness, the damage soaking capacity goes from 13 to something like 31, which is tough to crack
  • They have fate points
  • They can fly faster than most people can run

Encounter staging is also where it's at- the team in this example got a round+ of full auto shooting into the creature.  The CSMs were being 'mopped up' by the rest of the Kill Team, implying that they weren't much of a threat.  Then you get into a couple of key rule breaks- the Templar's last burst should've done something closer to 20 damage rather than 92 or 100 (if he could've even made the shot by being broken out of hand to hand), and the Bloodthirster never took any defensive actions.

TBH, if I were staging the encounter I'd not have let my players shoot at him for that long, they'd be at least in charge range of the Bloodthirster by the time he showed himself.  In addition, any CSMs in the area would be trying to use cover to increase armor and firing heavy weapons back at the Kill Team.  I'd also have had a handful of other daemons on the ground helping him out as he showed up.

As for what would Grey Knights be able to do that regular Marine's wouldn't?  I don't have the book, but some speculation: teleport in behind the enemy to attack the bloodthirster from behind while someone else more expendible took on the other lesser daemons.  Each Knight could probably do damage, rather than one character from one particular chapter, and they could do so for longer than their rank in turns (though I'd still expect the fight to be over in short order, Marines just don't have that many wounds).  If they're hth junkies they probably get things like Wall of Steel, and their armor may be warded against warp weapons (which would prevent the quick TPK).  In addition, the Bloodthirster is only one type of daemon.  Other Daemons have other powers, and while Tzeench might not be able to get punched in the face as hard, he can also turn your PCs to dust at range.  Bonuses against psy powers would be crucial in that type of fight.

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venkelos said:

Wow, it seems okay that the Imperium keeps the Grey Knights a secret, as they don't appear to be necessary, by this example. The biggest save for the players was that they avoided some of the melee combat, yes? And it seems to me that's what the GK strive for, but might not make it through. If a group of "regular" Marines can topple a Bloodthirster that quick, it almost seems that the GK need never be called in. Killing Hordes seems to be Space Marine's bread and butter, so swarms of lesser daemons should be only a small problem, and one that regular Marines can handle. If the "big daemon-killing" Space Marines, the Grey Knights, aren't needed to hit the biggest Daemons, then what scenario calls for them?

 

Okay, so I understand that a few little things were misinterpreted in the scenario at the beginning, and things might've gone a bit different if Khorne's Blade had focused on one Marine, and not lost the extra health from the Black Templar's ranged attacks, but they still did kill it, and it seems to me they probably still wou;d have, though it might have cost them a Black Templar. What does the GK bring that makes them so much more versus Daemons, then a group of other Marines? I have Daemon Hunter, and have flipped through the GK stuff numerous times (my favorite Chapter, even if no game is ever likely to let me play one full-time). Daemon Hunter looks very helpful, along with Hatred (Daemons), and I will always love Nemesis Force weapons, and getting a personal teleporter would make me happy, but they are often fluff-described as almost being to Space Marines what Space Marines are to Guardsmen. What's the big gap that sits between them? I know they seem to like melee combat with Daemons, but why will they not get splutched by the BTH, if the other Marines probably would have? Please help me to understand my favorite Chapter better? Thanks.

Nice things all GKs get when fighting Daemons:

  • Hatred: Daemons free
  • Auto-confirm RF vs. Daemons for free
  • Denying dodge/parry in melee with Killing Strike
  • Step Aside and Wall of Steel as Rank 1 Talents
  • Nemesis Hammerhand is available as a freebie power at chargen - enjoy adding (SB x3) to all melee attacks
  • All Nemesis Force Weapons are Sanctified, so there goes the Daemonic TB multiplier

Strangely, they have no basic defense against Warp Weapon, which I would think might be built into their Aegis armor, but it isn't.

 

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Sort of a shame that they don't get something to help push against the Warp Instability effect, something that penalizes the WP score, for that test, or something. The very presence of Knights, coupled with their psychic might, and constant chanting, is often said to weaken the daemon's hold on this reality. Of course, if they can't cause Insanity in something, and I presume giving Grey Knights Insanity points is difficult, while they avoid melee attacks, they'll probably have to keep making checks. Sort of wish they could use Daemonsbane from Ascnsion (please don't kill me for mentioning that book?), if it got reworked to fit in with DW mechanics. The Banishment power is a nice beginning for Grey Knights forcing damage on Daemons, because they are Daemons, in addition to the plethora of damage they can dish out, charging forward, and once they get into melee.

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Guest Not In Sample

I've often thought things need more hitpoints, to make the fights go on longer.

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We did end replaying it, hypothetically, the chaplain died pretty straight off and once that happened the rest of us said screw it we woulda died and we messed up the encounter. honestly with only 2 rank 4 marines and the rank 2 assault a bloodthirster with a 10 man tactical CSM squad and the 8 bloodletters the gm rolled, its all ******. as such we've decided to save that battle for another day, and say that we instead downed a lesser daemon prince.

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On a side note, where the hell do you find the rules for Sanctified weapons and Holy Damage?
In core rulebook on Weapon Qualities page 144 it only says:

Sanctified
Damage inflicted by a Sanctified weapon counts as Holy Damage, which has certain effects on some Daemonic and
warp creatures. All weapons with this special Quality must be either Exceptionally or Master-Crafted.

which is rather dodgy, no? and I've found no trace of Holy Damage in any books, or I've missed it.

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Stannis Ravensight said:

On a side note, where the hell do you find the rules for Sanctified weapons and Holy Damage?

It's under the Daemonic trait (makes sense, right? lengua.gif)- page 130: "the effects of this trait are ignored for damage infliced by force weapons, psychic powers, holy attacks, or other creatures with this trait."

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Do you make one damage roll per attack or per hit?

I can´t find a clear answer to this in the rules. The rules for damaging hordes implies that different hits of one attack can have different damage values which would need one damage roll per hit.

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Once per hit.

Each hit is a unique hit, and while perhaps not written out in the rules directly, I'm confident damage is rolled per hit inflicted.  This is against hordes or against individual targets.  So for example if you hit with a heavy bolter 6 times, you roll damage 6 separate times and subtract AP and Toughness as appropriate from each hit.  To do otherwise would create massive swings in the damage output of weapons.

Some people, however, use an all or nothing approach when dealing with Hordes though and roll damage once per attack, and apply damage or not based on the luck of that single roll.  This is to speed up horde combat, and prevent players from having to roll damage 101 times in a round.  In the example above, you'd roll damage for the HB once, and if it did damage you'd simply calculate the mag damage from the hits inflicted.  Note that without cover, most astartes weapons will find that it is impossible to fail at wounding a horde trooper.

In a case where damage might be different per hit inflicted, I'd imagine a separate roll would be asked for- at least that's what I would do.

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