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Thaddux

Being Sneaky in Armour

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In Dark Heresy and Only War, it is stated that armour that provides 7 AP and more inflicts a -30 penalty on Move Silently/Concealment/Stealth tests.

Two questions:

I can't find this rule in Black Crusade.  Does it simply not count for heretics?

If the rule does count, (and of course in other games where it definitley does.) if I take a suit of Carapace (6 AP) and make it Best quality, does it suddenly become less stealthy?

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How this tends to be ruled in most games I play is basically, the BASE AP of the armor is what counts, barring modifications that change it (power assisted plate armor wont make it easy to sneak for example)

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That makes sense to me, and is how I would rule it also.  It just seems like a really odd thing for the RAW to have.  Also, having checked all of the corebooks, Black Crusade is the only one missing the -30 to stealth for AP 7 rule.

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Some example Awareness Test modifiers (pg 96 of the Black Crusade Core Rules, and pg 118 of the Only War Core Rules) include +20 to notice the passage of a Hulking Creature. However, even though Legion Power Armour raises the wearer's Size by one step (to Hulking), Chaos Space Marines possess the Black Carapace, "…meaning they do not count their Size as one step higher."

But…

Pg 18 of the BC Core Rules and pg 32 of the OW Core Rules states under the heading TEST DIFFICULTY: "While the difficulty of a given test is occasionally clearly stated by the rules, often it is left to the GM to determine just how difficult an action is."

So perhaps I don't award a +20 bonus to an Awareness Test to detect the Chaos Space Marine because he is Hulking, but instead award the bonus because his armour's power supply and servos hum and whine, and because the overlapping fit of some sections make noise (such as the pauldron against the cuirass, or the poleyn against the cuisse). Throb-hum, whir, click, clack!

Unless he's carrying a Stummer…

Awareness opposes and is opposed by Stealth, and is a

"Free Action in reaction to something." Out of all the Adversaries listed in the BC Core Rules, only nine of them don't have Awareness; Administratum Adept, Cackling Abomination, and Ax'senaea the Thrice-Possessed (WTH!?) to name three, and that last one still has a 44% after the unksilled penalty. I think it's safe to say if a CSM doesn't have Stealth, chances are he's likely to be noticed.

As a GM, I'd be inclined to rule movement more than Half results in a penalty to Stealth: Full Move -10, Charge -20, Run -30. I'd also be inclined to have the Player make two Stealth Tests, even though it is a Free Action as part of Movement: once at the beginning of the move (to represent possibly gaffing straight out of the gate), and the second at the halfway point (to represent maintaining Stealth discipline). Do you want to be sneaky, or do you want to get there quickly? Doing this might add some immersion tension to the session.
So, perhaps because it is "often left to the GM to determine just how difficult an action is", having an additional penalty resulting from a high AP value might be considered overkill.

There is also this to consider:
Black Crusade lists many Armour Upgrades, none of which are available in Only War, and the developers may have considered the additional weight these could potentially add to Armour as penalty enough without piling on another -30 to Stealth Tests?  

 

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Remember, Power Armor (not light) gives the wearer +1 step in size, but Marines while wearing it are still naturally hulking, just missing the extra too hit bonus.

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It just seems so wildly inconsistent with all of the other games.  Even Deathwatch maintains the -30 penalty for armour above 6.  Fair enough if FFG decided to do away with the rule completely, but it returns in Only War.  Seems to imply that Chaos Space marines and other heretics do not take the -30 penalty, while everyone else does (except the Raven Guard it seems).

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Aha!

Top of pg 142, Table 4-8: Size…

There is direct contradiction. Page 175 states that since CSMs possess the Black Carapace they "do not count their size as one step higher." Table 4-8, Hulking category includes the example "Armoured Space Marine." So…

Perhaps…?
Perhaps attackers do not receive the +10 bonus to hit due to their Hulking Size, but the -10 Stealth penalty still applies?

The rules on pg 175 also strongly imply a CSM is Average Size outside of his armour. Well, unless we're to assume he's Hulking outside of his armour (because, you know, they're big), and inside of it he is Enormous, and this increase in Size is ignored due to his Black Carapace.

Can someone send a query to FFG?

Simply: Is there a penalty to Stealth when wearing armours possessed of high AP values? If so, please indicate the AP value(s) and associated Stealth penalty(s). If not, then as it pertains to CSMs do we ignore the to-hit modifier but impose the Stealth modifer associated with Hulking, Table 4-8: Size, pg 142? Or do we ignore Size altogether with regards to CSMs due to their Black Carapce, pg 175?

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Another slight inconsistency: As Alekzanter pointed out, page 175 states that "Chaos Space Marines possess the Black Carapace, meaning they do not count their size as one step higher", however, both the character sheet, and the list of space marine implants on page 49 indicate that the marine still counts as being hulking, but that enemies simply do not receive the +10 bonus to hit, and that the steath penalty, movement bonus and actual size of the marine is still hulking.

And yes, it does seem strongly implied that a CSM not wearing armour is Average size, since they lack the Size(x) trait that would specify otherwise.  It sounds reasonable.  Space marines aren't literal giants, they're just consistently at the upper range of possible human height.  It's the armour that pushes them up to Hulking.

I would happily send a query to FFG if I knew how.

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Thaddux said:

…both the character sheet, and the list of CSM implants on pg 49 indicate that a CSM still counts as being hulking, but that enemies simply do not receive the +10 bonus to hit…

You may have cracked the nut…

Upon checking pg 49, Chaos Space Marine Implants: Black Carapace, I find the exact wording of the relevant text as follows: "Although a Space Marine in power armour has the Size (Hulking) Trait, his enemies gain no bonus to hit him thanks to the Black Carapace."

I would rule as follows:

  • When attacking a Chaos Space Marine who is wearing power armour, his Size (Hulking) Trait confers no to-hit bonus.
  • A Chaos Space Marine weaing power armour suffers a -10 penalty to Stealth Tests, the result of his Size (Hulking) Trait

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Exactly how I believe the rule was intended.  sadly doesn't bring us any closer to understanding why the -30 stealth penalty is missing from BC only. :S

Would love to hear from someone at FFG.

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So, got a reply from FFG:

Hi R***!  We left that bit out as many BC heretic types have no choice but to have power armour; its literally part of their bodies. Chaos Space Marines have the Black Carapace, so they would not have any penalties (ditto for Deathwatch marines in that game). We may add in the penalty though for humans wearing power armour in a future errata though—great question here!

 

Hope this helps R***, and thanks for playing!

As it turns out, FFG don't know what the Black Carapace does.

 

 

The original message:

Hi there. All of the Warhammer 40k games state that a -30 penalty applies to characters wearing armour that confers 7 or more armour points, with the exception of Black Crusade. Could you say if this is correct, and why this is the case.
Thank you. :)

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It's a rule I found slightly odd at times...

 

But then again, fluff-wise, there are many times CSMs are described as being very stealthy. Alpha Legion, Night Lords especially... I might apply that to all Speesh Mahreens that they only get a -10 for being huge in PAs, aside from Raven Guard who has no penalty at all. Normal humans should still get -30 in PAs, since theirs arent bonded to the wearer to the same degree, unless they have an MIU implant.

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