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Alekzanter

Something very simple, yet it bugs the crap out of me…

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 Since the release of Black Crusade, and now into Only War, the Standard Attack Action is a Half Action that adds +10 to WS or BS. Why? It's as if thousands of players were complaining of not being able to hit anything, due to poorly generated starting Characteristics, and so changing Standard Attack to include a +10 would make everyone feel like they were getting off with some sort of buff. But why give the Standard Attack Action any bonus, when you can just add 10 to the starting WS and BS? Let's say a character starts with a WS/BS or 32, takes a Half Action Aim and follows with a Standard Attack. The characters effective target is 52. Fine. Let's then say his/her WS/BS doesn't change, but the character has the Swift Attack Talent, which has a +/-0 modifier to hit, or the Lightning Attack Talent that has a -10 modifier to hit. Both of these Talents require a Half Action to use, but Swift Attack is a Talent that implies increased Skill, allowing additional hits and benefits from Aim Actions. Lightning Attack is a Talent implying even more skill than Swift Attack, yet its associated negative to-hit modifier is negated with a Half Action Aim? And the character then only gets an Aim bonus if he/she spends another Half Action, what…revving up like the Tasmanian Devil? Sure, more hits with Lightning Attack, and blah blah. But…

WS 32
+Half Action Aim (+10)
+Standard Attack (+10)
WS 52 (adjusted)

Then WS 32
+Half Action Aim (+10)
+Lightning Attack (-10)
WS 32 (adjusted)

Yay. I'm a massively  talented melee machine, lashing at my opponent with a whirlwind of blows that have a reduced chance of hitting and achieving less DoS. It makes no sense. I'll keep the single attack at 52, thank you.

Or…

BS 32
+Half Action Aim (+10)
+Standard Attack (+10)
BS 52 (adjusted)

Then BS 32
+ Half Action Aim (+ 10)
+ Full Auto burst (-10)
BS 32 (adjusted)

Again, I'll take the single shot. Maybe even make it a Called Shot, since chances are equal to a Full Auto burst of actually hitting in the first place, with the added bonus of choosing the weak spot of my target and likely doing more damage than a few randomly spaced dinks.
 

So I say, if you want players to be able to hit something and feel like they're getting something out of it, just raise starting WS and BS characteristics by 10. Save the time and headache of adding yet another modifier.  
 

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Okay I'm a bit confused by what you are trying to say but let's look at the important part here, the math.

BS / WS 32 becomes BS / WS 52 when making a standard attack.

BS / WS 32 remains BS / WS 32 when making a Full Auto or Lightning Attack
Assuming half action aim.

So you have a 52% chance of getting one hit vs. a 32% chance of at least one hit, a 22% of at least two hits, a 12% of at least three hits and a 2% chance of exactly 4 hits.

BS = 32
1 DoS = 23-32 = 10% = 1 hit
2 DoS = 13-22 = 10% = 2 hits
3 DoS = 03-12 = 10% = 3 hits
4 DoS = 03-02 = 02% = 4 hits

So let's assume our fighter is spending 100 rounds wailing at a target that can neiter block nor parry.
In these 100 rounds he'll hit 52 attacks if he makes single shots.

If he uses Full Auto / Lightning attack he gets:

 2  * 4+
10 * 3+
10 * 2+
10 * 1
---------
= 68 hits (if were talking about Lightning Attack we only end up with 66 hits since a WS of 32 means that no more than 3 hits can be scored with lightning attack and all our attacks that would have scored 4 hits score 3 instead.)

Woops, guess our Full Auto / Lightning Attack fighter is more effective.

 

Oh and one more thing. If we were to raise the WS and BS characteristics by 10 across the entire board everybody would become better at parrying. stunning, supressing fire, reparing weapons, manouvering and feinting among other things that I might be missing.

 

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 I still say there's something widgy about getting a bonus for doing something "standard". Normal door lock, +10 bonus to pick it. Normal fat ugly girl, +10 bonus to (rhyme) it. Ad infinitum. I hadn't thought of the Parry angle, but still, +10 for a Standard Attack? It's like expecting 24 oz. of Mountain Dew out of a 20 oz. bottle. And it's just another modifier to add up. I get sick of listening to the cadence: "I have a WS of 32, Half Action Aim, so 42, target is scrawny, so 32, and Standard Attack, so 42, and the target is obscured by dust, so 32… Maybe I should do a Full Action Aim? Yeah, that's what I'll do. Okay, skip me until next round", and every time I hear Standard Attack I want to cry out "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY! WHY A BONUS FOR SOMETHING STANDARD!?"

 

Okay, how's this…why not a +10 bonus to Dodge or Parry vs. a Standard Attack? I mean there's no real effort going into the attack, it's just standard. Should be easy to avoid? And -10 vs. Lightning Attack or Full Auto, you know, blows and bullets filling the air, and all that making it more difficult.?. 

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Alekzanter said:

 

 I still say there's something widgy about getting a bonus for doing something "standard". Normal door lock, +10 bonus to pick it. Normal fat ugly girl, +10 bonus to (rhyme) it. Ad infinitum. I hadn't thought of the Parry angle, but still, +10 for a Standard Attack? It's like expecting 24 oz. of Mountain Dew out of a 20 oz. bottle. And it's just another modifier to add up. I get sick of listening to the cadence: "I have a WS of 32, Half Action Aim, so 42, target is scrawny, so 32, and Standard Attack, so 42, and the target is obscured by dust, so 32… Maybe I should do a Full Action Aim? Yeah, that's what I'll do. Okay, skip me until next round", and every time I hear Standard Attack I want to cry out "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY! WHY A BONUS FOR SOMETHING STANDARD!?"

 


That's just one of the oddities that occur when you modify a system in parts to fix problems that you weren't aware of in the beginning. As you may or may not know in DH and RT a standard attack was at +-0 and a Full Auto Burst was at +20. This made Full Auto even stronger than it still is (see my post above) and there was no reason to ever use anything but full auto burst. In the new version you only get 18 hits for at least 4 times the ammo used (also excluding time for reloading and clearing jams).

 

The alternative of moving all attack modifiers down by 10 would make everyone miss all the time, especially on full auto. The only real alternative would be to downsize ALL BS and WS tests by 10 (including feinting, manveuering and all that jazz) while increasing the BS and WS characteristic by 10 for all characters and NPCs. That would be a lot of changes.

I think we can all agree that simply changing 3 modifiers is easier than changing ALL the modifiers AND the characteristics.

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 If you ever played a Deathwatch game with a player using a Full Auto weapon, you'd understand why OW has the bonuses switched (Standard giving a +10, Semi/Swift +0, Full Auto/Lightning -10). It may not make sense on a logical level, but it makes a ridiculously huge difference in balancing out the weapon systems, and makes something like taking a sniper rifle actually a viable option instead of loading up on as many Full-auto weapons as you can. 

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The other mechanical reason you wouldn't bump WS/BS by 10 to compensate is that you'd have to rebalance all the talents that list WS/BS as prerequisites. Since the average characteristic roll in Only War hovers around the 30 range, you can be reasonably assured that you can buy four characteristic upgrades and eventually get the prerequisite for your WS/BS 50 talent while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of an increasing WS/BS score. If you bump it up by 10 to begin with, you drop a ton of extra xp into the character advancement system and essentially cause "prerequisite inflation".

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Alekzanter said:

 

 I still say there's something widgy about getting a bonus for doing something "standard". Normal door lock, +10 bonus to pick it.

Well… you probably could get a bonus for a "normal" lock… The standard check modifier is for a "challenging" test, and for a trained lockpicker would probably find a "normal" lock quite easy (thgough I have a feeling Security may be an opposed check against something, so this may not matter).

 

However, I get your point. I find it a bit weird too, but giving +10 to WS would have other unintended effects. But then I am not keen on most of the post-Deathwatch rules anyway (there were issues that needed to be dealt with, but I felt they could have been dealt with in other ways)..

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There is something that people aren't understanding here, and it is that the rules used in the game have nothing, at all, to do with what would logically happen in real life. Rules exist to create a framework for a balanced game, they do not exist to simulate reality, nor should they, because games that do are so needlessly complicated that they aren't even fun to play. You need to forget real life when you consider the rules and start looking at the them in comparison to each other. Then you will understand why they are the way they are and why they were changed in the first place.

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Alekzanter said:

 I still say there's something widgy about getting a bonus for doing something "standard". Normal door lock, +10 bonus to pick it. Normal fat ugly girl, +10 bonus to (rhyme) it. Ad infinitum. I hadn't thought of the Parry angle, but still, +10 for a Standard Attack? It's like expecting 24 oz. of Mountain Dew out of a 20 oz. bottle. And it's just another modifier to add up. I get sick of listening to the cadence: "I have a WS of 32, Half Action Aim, so 42, target is scrawny, so 32, and Standard Attack, so 42, and the target is obscured by dust, so 32… Maybe I should do a Full Action Aim? Yeah, that's what I'll do. Okay, skip me until next round", and every time I hear Standard Attack I want to cry out "FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY! WHY A BONUS FOR SOMETHING STANDARD!?"

 

Okay, how's this…why not a +10 bonus to Dodge or Parry vs. a Standard Attack? I mean there's no real effort going into the attack, it's just standard. Should be easy to avoid? And -10 vs. Lightning Attack or Full Auto, you know, blows and bullets filling the air, and all that making it more difficult.?. 

Ordinary is +10 so I dont see the problem.

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I think people are somewhat conflicting two issues here. the bonus for standard tests is there to insure that, in the game model, average people can do average things without having to break up the stats into a million shades of difference. D20, favoured a lot more detail (+3 vs +5), storyteller system (WOD) favoured much more broad strokes with skills.

As the combat descriptions state, the combatants are performing many different actions at once, (attacking, parrying and dodging) wihout rolling. A standard attack is someone attacking probably quite carefully, a lighting attack is someone of much greater skill attacking more fluidly. As far as being able to land several good hits (i.e. those that can cripple or kill) on potentially different people during six seconds goes, it is difficult.. very difficult. especially if they know what they're doing. multiple attacks are for combat specalists and the model above assumes frankly average weapon skill. A swordsman with seapon skill 45 or 50, would fare a lot better in terms of number of hits and it is easily possible to get weapon skill above these ranges.

Full auto mods are entirely different though. it really should make hitting the target easier, becuase it does… however. full auto then becomes the best trait for a weapon bar none and this upsets the entire game balance. we've keep full auto at the original levels and have given it to lasguns as standard. they kick a lot of ass.

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Then why not just say that a Standard Attack Action is an Ordinary Test, rather than +10 to WS/BS? Everything else is referred to by the modifier/difficulty steps of Ordinary, Routine, Challenging, Difficult, etc, so why not do the same thing with the modifiers for WS and BS Tests?

Example: Instead of having (on the Combat Actions Table) - Guarded Attack; Attack, Concentration, Melee; -10 WS, +10 Parry/Dodge, why not Guarded Attack; Attack, Concentration, Melee; Difficult WS Test, Ordinary Parry/Dodge Test? Why not say a Standard Attack is an Ordinary WS/BS Test, a Half Action Aim is a Routine WS/BS Test, or a Full Action Aim is an Easy WS/BS Test? We have these fancy categories for the modifier steps, and then they aren't used for two of the (assumedly) most used Skill Tests. Is this because it suddenly makes remembering the modifiers harder to remember because they're not Actions associated with numbers?

I might concede a Standard Attack being assigned a +10 bonus modifier if it were called an Ordinary Attack. 

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I couldn't give you a concrete answer, but my guess is that most players use the numbers associated with the particular difficulties and not the names of those difficulties. +10 is simply a lot easier to remember than Ordinary=+10. People also instinctively know what +10 means. They would need to go back and learn what Ordinary means in context to the game, which is really just a waste of time. This is also probably the reason the number is written next to the word in books where difficulty of a test comes up.

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 Yes, but the word Standard is NOT used to indicate +10, Ordinary is. Look, I get things have gone on long enough they're not changing anytime soon…but I was of a mind that that's what this forum was intended for. Refinement.

 

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Standard is not indicating an Ordinary skill test, is is a type of attack.

It's not an aimed attack, snap shot, full auto, semi-auto, or called shot. It's just a plain old, everyday standard attack. The name is arbitrary. It could have been called a Green-Squid class attack but that would have been confusing. It also happens to have a +10 modifier. That the idea of the default attack has a modifier on it is annoying to you is purely a personal bugaboo. It does not call for system revision or a terminology change.

In particular changing the name to level of a skill check is a terrible idea because it is not a skill check. If you did, it would look like part of the skill system and that will lead to confusion and misapplied rules.

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Alekzanter said:

 Yes, but the word Standard is NOT used to indicate +10, Ordinary is. Look, I get things have gone on long enough they're not changing anytime soon…but I was of a mind that that's what this forum was intended for. Refinement.

 

Do you propose Swift Attack / Semi-Auto to be called "Challenging Attack" and Lightning / Full Auto a "Hard Attack"?

I suppose not, because names of combat actions aren't indicative of their mechanical difficulty.

It's not a matter of refinement, it's a matter of you confusing two distinct logical categories.

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"WS 32…Yay. I'm a massively talented melee machine,"

I think this is where the confusion comes from.  At 30ish WS/BS, a well aimed attack is indeed the way to go.  (and I would hesitate to call them massively talented)

When you have a WS/BS in the 50+ range you have the skill to do obscene things with Lightning Attack or Full Auto.

(When using these rules in our DW game we had to tone down LA since the Assault marine could kill anything with his WS of 70 and Lightning Claws.  I did the math and my Dev with BS 70 had to roll well with an assault cannon to possibly out perform him.)

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And that's kind of the problem with the new rules for multiple attacks. It means it just sucks balls for people of average (or even slightly above average), but is even more busted than it was before with exceptionally talented individuals, consequently not really solving the problem that it seems to have been designed to solve.

In the past Swift and Lightning attacks were just part of the general improvement of a character in melee. Even Adepts got Swift Attack, and anyone of note seemed to get it in DH. Unfortunately DW treated the multiple attack Talents as "special abilities" for certain specialities, to the extent even a secondary melee character such as the Apothecary only got it at rank 6 (or was it even 7?). Of course, it now has kind of turned into a "special power" with the new rules.

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Nathiel said:

(When using these rules in our DW game we had to tone down LA since the Assault marine could kill anything with his WS of 70 and Lightning Claws.  I did the math and my Dev with BS 70 had to roll well with an assault cannon to possibly out perform him.)

That's not a problem created by Lightning Attack but by the Lightning Claws since their damage grows two ways per DoS while most other weapons damage only grows one way (by increasing hits).

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borithan said:

 

And that's kind of the problem with the new rules for multiple attacks. It means it just sucks balls for people of average (or even slightly above average), but is even more busted than it was before with exceptionally talented individuals, consequently not really solving the problem that it seems to have been designed to solve.

 

 

I did the math once some time after BC came out, and it turns out Swift Attack / Semi-Auto break even with Standard Attack as low as WS/BS 30 - the latter gets a slightly higher chance of scoring a hit at all, while the former breaks even with a chance to inflict an extra hit, and it averages to about the same chance of landing one hit.

IIRC, Lightning/Full Auto beats both at WS/BS 40+ - hardly an obscene value.

 

borithan said:

 

In the past Swift and Lightning attacks were just part of the general improvement of a character in melee. Even Adepts got Swift Attack, and anyone of note seemed to get it in DH. Unfortunately DW treated the multiple attack Talents as "special abilities" for certain specialities, to the extent even a secondary melee character such as the Apothecary only got it at rank 6 (or was it even 7?). Of course, it now has kind of turned into a "special power" with the new rules.

 

 

If by "in the past" you mean "in Dark Heresy", then you'd be correct. Take a look at RT:

Rogue Trader: Swift Attack at Rank 4, no Lightning Attack

Arch-Militant (the supposed master of all forms of combat): SA at Rank 8, no LA

Astropath: SA at Rank 8, no LA

Explorator (Tech-Priest): SA at Rank 7, surprisingly LA at Rank 8

Missionary: SA at Rank 4, LA at Rank 8

Navigator: SA at Rank 8, no LA

Seneschal: Neither SA nor LA

Void-Master: SA at Rank 7, LA at Rank 8

Kroot (a dedicated melee beast): SA Rank 6, LA Rank 8

Ork (another melee beast): SA Rank 4, LA Rank 7

Now consider:

RT Rank 4 = DH Rank 9 = Ascension/DW Rank 1

RT Rank 6 = DH Rank 11 = Ascension/DW Rank 3

RT Rank 7 = DH Rank 12 = Ascension/DW Rank 4

RT Rank 8 = DH Rank 13 = Ascension/DW Rank 5

Clearly, the only system that considered giving Swift Attack and Lightning Attack to any- and everyone was Dark Heresy, before BC did away with limiting advancement choices.

The discrepancy is actually one of the reasons behind the fact that despite FFG's claims, the systems aren't compatible in a way that lets you take characters from different games with same exp total and create a balanced party out of them.

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Ok, I stand corrected. I guess I tend to think mostly in terms of Dark Heresy. I have never been that enthused with RT (though I do own all the books, but I haven't spent the time pouring over them that I have in Dark heresy), and I didn't play it for long. Deathwatch I did notice the change though due to massive discrepancy of having one career get both in rank 2 while almost everyone else had to wait ages for it, and the fact I played it extensively.

And I will admit I didn't do the maths about swift/lightning attack vs standard attack in the new system. I did have a basic look at the new vs the original system as a comparison, where I came to the conclusion that it would have just made the Assault Marines even more busted than they already were, and wasn't really going to save time as had been suggested. The only other reason for introducing it, internal system consistency with Semi/Full Auto, just is not a reason for me.

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You're not considering the change in the wider context of the rules. It all starts with the change to full and semi-auto fire. In earlier systems, the huge bonus of full auto combined with the potential of scoring multiple hits made these weapons vastly superior and thus rendered entire classes of weapons obsolete. Combined with the fact that burst shooting required a full action, this created boring, repetitive fights where the best option was to just stand there and keep shooting. Obviously, neither players sticking to a very specific subset of existing weapons nor the boring "mexican standoff" fights were desirable. So in BC, full auto got "nerfed". It's still a superior option, but only for dedicated specialists (like I wrote in my earlier post, full auto starts to break even at about 40 BS, the average level of starting Astartes and peak level of starting human characters - also the level where with the new bonus to single shots, a dedicated sniper borders on never missing). It also made autofire somewhat easier to evade (lower to hit totals mean less hits on average). I suppose this also factored in reducing the number of reaction characters can have outside of special rules.

All these changes were good, but they left shooters in the dust compared to what melee characters could get. Since melee multiattacks were resolved as a series of distinct rolls, each requiring a separate Reaction to try and evade, melee combat was always much more binary than ranged fighting - simply put, either you had enough Reactions to attempt to evade everything a meleeist throws at you or you were almost certain to eat a nasty hit. With previous autofire rules, it somewhat evened out - a good shooter had a better chance to hit, a good meleeist had a better chance to deprive the enemy of his Reactions and had a more consistent damage output. But with the shooters' main advantage negated, and the decrease in the number of available Reactions, melee would become stupidly powerful.

It didn't also help that previous melee rules also caused a homogenization of combat actions not unlike the one caused by old autofire. As you grew more powerful as a dedicated melee combatant, you just gained more attacks, again at the cost of being able to move. The alternate route to taking swift and lightning attack, the All-Out Attack and ancillary Talents, was clearly inferior, as it gave you less attacks at a bigger cost (losing your own chance to evade the payback), with a rather unimpressive upside of slightly boosting your already decent chance to hit. Again, this is obviously not desirable - the authors created talents such as Furious Assault, clearly they wanted someone to use it. Then, there was the matter of everyone dual wielding if they could get away with it - since most enemies don't go past three reactions, having four attacks is definitely better than having three attacks, even if they're made with worse weapons. But the biggest problem with this was, it made Swift Attack and Lightning Attack the two most important advancements for any character who wanted to do melee. Anyone who bought them was clearly superior to the guy who didn't, even if the latter had higher BS total.

In light of all these problems, someone chose the easy solution and forced parity between melee and ranged multiattack rules. I posit that it was a good decision, as it neatly addresses most of the problems with melee fighting. Dual wielding is still somewhat busted, sadly, but at this point I consider it a discrete problem.

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Morangias said:

Dual wielding is still somewhat busted, sadly, but at this point I consider it a discrete problem.

Could you describe that in some more detail? You obviously put quite some thought into the rest of your post so I'd really like to hear your opinion on that last part as well.

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