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Einbauschrank

Does the inclusion of Only War rules unbalance DW?

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Hi,

 

as the rules tend to get better I'd like to introduce some of the DC/OW rules, especially the combat rules, into DW. Has anybode made bad experiences with that? Stuff like swift attack/lightning attack and the new semi/full auto rules could become more powerful as the Space Marines have higher BS/WS.

 

Any thoughts or threads?

 

Thanks!

 

 

Einbau

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I don't see a point frankly, though I think my opinion is in the minority. The core issue that the BC/OW rules addressed was the overwhelming superiority of full auto in previous game lines. and most, I think, of the other changes derive from that.

 

Deathwatch, however, assuming we are using the errata rules, barely has any full-auto weapons at all, except for non-Astartes weapons. So what you will be doing is weakening the players' enemies, rather than addressing a balance issue.

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Its up to preference really.

 

Any DW game I run in the future will use the semi/full modifiers of only war, though I am not fond of what multiple melee attacks do to melee in that system.

 

Semi/full auto made little sense in DH or DW. Realistically, firing a high recoil gun on full auto would make hitting a target harder, not easier, same for plucking off multiple shots in quick sucsesion without proper aiming with semi-auto fire. So I am quite satisfied with those changes. Testing with firing rates would likely be necessary though, as the drop in ROF of many weapons in DW was due to space marines with BS 50+ getting +20 to hit and beasting the rolls. With -20 to hit things are likely to be a little different.

 

As for the other rules... I'd have to test them out. The super simplified skill system (operate = drive/fly everything for instance) is right out, but some of the others are worth a crack.

 

Again, your milage may vary. My suggestion, play the game with standard rules until you are familiar with those, then introduce and test out some of the rules on a case by case basis.

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I think the BC/OW simplified skill system is a direct result of the chaos gods/aptitudes system. ("Is Swimming associated with Khorne?") From a realism POW it is totally ridiculous albeit necessitated by the character advancement mechanics of those system.

 

To be honest I don't see much of a reason to adopt any of the OW/BC rules in DW, because like I said up above the main problem they were meant to address does not exist in DW to begin with. I don't see a point -- it will just create more work for you when you realize you have to change around all the NPCs' characteristics. Oh also Deathwatch Training and several other Talents don't function using the OW/BC system since ighteous Fury triggers automatically.

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Semi/full auto made little sense in DH or DW. Realistically, firing a high recoil gun on full auto would make hitting a target harder, not easier, same for plucking off multiple shots in quick sucsesion without proper aiming with semi-auto fire. So I am quite satisfied with those changes. Testing with firing rates would likely be necessary though, as the drop in ROF of many weapons in DW was due to space marines with BS 50+ getting +20 to hit and beasting the rolls. With -20 to hit things are likely to be a little different.

 

 

Realistically? The point of a rapid firing weapon is to make hitting at all more likely, more shots fired=more chances to hit. Think about it like this, I carefully aim the gun, align the sights and pull the trigger. It doesn't matter how many bullets I fire in total, the chance of the first hitting is always equal, each additional bullet is simply providing extra chance of a hit.

 

The problem with the DW rules is that the bonus is too large, the chance of additional hits is too high, there's no accounting for different guns having different amounts of recoil, and that pre-errata so many weapons had a full-auto fire mode.

 

As for the skill consolidation, I like it. Skills like climb, swim, etc felt weirdly granular next to broad ones like Tech-use or Awareness. Operate is essentially three different skills combined (surface, aero, void) so is really just housekeeping. I have to say that I'm not keen on Intimidate only keying off strength though.

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The point of firing more bullets is to put more bullets in the air. There is no "carefully aiming the gun" when the gun is bouncing all over the place in your hand from recoil.  If you've aimed on target then pulled the trigger the only round hitting where you aimed would be the 1st one out, each additional will be all over the place as the recoil moves the barrel all over the place.

 

A very small amount of barrel movement makes big changes. Example: If the end of an M16 barrel is off of its target by 1mm the shot will be 8 inches from the point of aim at 100 yards. It gets even worse when dealing with shorter barrel weapons (like bolters and heavy bolters).

 

As for "better chance to hit with the first shot"... How is firing 10 bullets going to make your first shot any more accurate? Its complete rubbish. In fact theres a psychologically higher chance for poor trigger control, 'shooting from the hip', or excessive bracing which throws off aim when a shooter lets loose on full auto. (Putting a scope up to your eye when the gun will be bucking a couple of inches in a moment isn't a very bright idea, neither is loosely griping it like you would with a single shot.) Ask any real shooter who knows what he's talking about and he'll tell you trying to hit a single target past 20yards with full auto is a waste of time.

 

The only time full auto weapons are worth using is against a large number of enemies at close range in a suprise engagement (the exact reason the M16 was built in the 60s). Or a massive number of enemies covering a large amount of area at distance. As stated in a fairly realistic movie, "Spread out, 5 guys together is machine gun bait, 1 is just a waste of ammo." (close enough) Shooting at minimum range gives a bonus, countering Only War's penalty, and shooting at large groups of enemies (hordes in DW) would also counter this penalty. Therefore Only War's method of semi/full auto makes sense and works as they probably should.

pearldrum1 likes this

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I'm not a gun guy myself, but people who are (soldiers etc.)  tell me that full auto is in fact more accurate and the reason people don't use it all the time is to save ammunition.

 

There is another issue, which is that most (but not all oddly enough!) of the NPC write-ups presuppose pre-errata weapon stats. So do some of the squad and solo modes in Jericho Reach.

 

For instance with 1d10+9 damage, though the average is about the same as 2d10+5, you cannot damage many Tyrannids at all. For that matter it is not that hard to make a marine that is immune to bolter fire.

 

Yeah I think next time I'll try the pre-errata stats.

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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Automatic fire isn't necessarily more accurate per se, it's just that with a pintle mounted or bipod one is in effect (gaming term) "braced" and with every 5 round being a tracer one doesn't necessarily have to "aim" the weapon so much as spot the tracers onto the target (area).....it's a kind of a cheat.  Monitoring and moderating rate of fire is however the only way to conserve resources especially if one only has what one is carrying with them.  It's a little different if you are at an outpost with a stockpile of some sort for resupply on hand, but when you only have what is with you on your person.....judicious use is the order of the day.  There are ways and techniques to fire and more while supressing the enemy without going full auto.  Bounding overwatch is just one such technique whether advancing or falling back can lay supressive fire by a member of two in semi-automatic mode at a rapid enough rate while the rest of the squad manouvers to new positions and then they lay fire while the rest of the squad repositions.

 

In game terms with a Heavy Weapons Harness it would act the same as bracing the weapon with a bipod or it being mounted or stabilised in some other fashion.  As for penetrating Nid Carapace....Hellfire rounds.

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I always thought that full auto could be 'tamed" simply by using the Rule of Three and not giving your Marines infinite ammunition. Doesn't work for the heavy bolter though.

 

Anyway I think the next time I will GM I will try using Only War rules for autofire in conjunction with the original, pre-errata stats. That might balance things out in itself, even with the higher damage output. And people will be able to hurt tech-marines and carnifexes and autofire with their boltguns. :)

 

As it is, bolters without fancy ammo can't hiurt half the things in Jericho Reach. Which I think is silly.

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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As for "better chance to hit with the first shot"... How is firing 10 bullets going to make your first shot any more accurate? Its complete rubbish. In fact theres a psychologically higher chance for poor trigger control, 'shooting from the hip', or excessive bracing which throws off aim when a shooter lets loose on full auto. (Putting a scope up to your eye when the gun will be bucking a couple of inches in a moment isn't a very bright idea, neither is loosely griping it like you would with a single shot.) Ask any real shooter who knows what he's talking about and he'll tell you trying to hit a single target past 20yards with full auto is a waste of time.

 

When did I say there was more chance for the first shot to hit? Your first shot, whether the selector is set to semi-auto or full-auto, will always have the same chance of hitting. Firing a burst of rounds means that if your initial shot misses, or if your target is moving and hard to draw a bead on, there is still a chance your target catching a bullet, this is why weapons such as the M16a2/a4, MP5N and FAMAS have a 3-shot burst mode. Eastern European militaries favour the "one beat burst" aiming at the legs or feet of an enemy and holding the trigger for one "beat" of music.

 

Yes, if you rock & roll from the hip with full auto emptying your entire magazine at once you won't hit anything past 20 yards, this is why militaries train soldiers to fire from stable, braced positions and emphasise trigger control. 

 

Or at least this is what I understand from reading the writings of Rex Applegate, William Fairbairn, and chatting to former squaddies when I volunteered at the local Army museum. I'm always open to being introduced to new sources though.

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The 3 round burst was added to modern weapons primarily because studies had shown when firing a fully automatic burst of fire with an infantry weapon at targets at normal engagement ranges (beyond 30 yards) the possibility of getting a hit with the 4th and subsequent rounds was next to impossible. The first three rounds though had a relatively good chance of actually hitting the target if the weapons action was quick enough to get those three rounds out before recoil killed the aim.

 

At point blank range this is different, the shooter has a larger and closer target, and the effect of barrel movement due to recoil is lessened. 1" of barrel movement at 100 yards is more than 3' of deviation. But at 5 yards it is closer to half a foot.  This is and has been the purpose of fully automatic sub-machine and rifle-machine guns for close to 100 years; to engage enemies at very close range (the M-16 was designed for Vietnam engagements which occured mostly at less than 15 yards). This is modeled very well with only war rules, sure you get a penalty to shoot full auto, but the close range bonuses mitigate them and make it easier to hit, very similar to real life.

 

Walking fire as described by korvis is interesting, as the heavy machine guns and weapons where that is tend to rely quite heavily on that principle to be effective. This is because most of them do not have very robust sights, or have any at all in some cases. With short bursts (Why can't a PC meter his fire rate in the game?) the sights work somewhat well, but after a half second burst the target must be re-sighted. This is what causes the shoot-pause-shoot of aimed fire from machine guns (well that and barrel heat). For longer bursts, the sights are there just to point the gun close to the target and the bullet impact hits are used to walk the rounds to the target. But lets not forget what true machine guns are meant to be used for: engaging large numbers of enemies simultaneously at range or suppressing enemy forces. They aren't meant to engage single targets, that is what the rifles of the gunner's mates are there for.

 

What we should really be asking isn't, "why have they taken my rediculous bonus away?" and instead ask, "why can't I fire a shorter burst as semi-auto?" or even, "why not make bracing with a tripod lower the full auto penalty by 10?" All of which would make much more sense than just wishing for the "ole days" where you could hit a man sized target at 400+ yards with all 12 rounds of your heavy bolter burst because you got that phat +20 bonus.

 

But in the end, if you can't take the word of a poor nobody like me, whose 10 years as a military intelligence analyst, expert military marksman qualification, and two tours in Iraqi combat zones has absolutely nothing to do with this topic... Well, that's fine.

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One concern I have about using UW rules in DW is the change of Full Auto to a Half Action, which allows you to move and fire your heavy bolter pretty much as if it were a rifle; loss of mobility is one of the disadvantages of the HB that offsets its killiness.

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But in the end, if you can't take the word of a poor nobody like me, whose 10 years as a military intelligence analyst, expert military marksman qualification, and two tours in Iraqi combat zones has absolutely nothing to do with this topic... Well, that's fine.

 

I had no idea of your experience or qualifications and meant no offense, what you said didn't wholly jive with what I had read and heard elsewhere, also from reputable sources, so I was questioning it so I could be more informed.

 

Personally I don't think either system really works very well, theres some interesting stuff coming out of the house rules thread over on the Only War forum that seem cool though.

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Does anybody have any experience with using the pre-errata weapons stats in combination with the OW rules? It seems intuitively that it would work, since OW tames autofire systematiccally.

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I think it's more a matter of flavor and speeding up combat than insistence upon realistic interpretation of real-life physics. If the devs were that concerned, why do lasguns have to worry about reduced accuracy when fired full-auto? What about alien weapons that have no modern analog? How can a chainsword instantly rev-up to the requisite rpms to tear through an ork skull? I could go on.
Only War rules seem to work fine with DW, as long as you apply them to the badguys too.  I honestly prefer the existing rules from DW, and my players hate it when I change the rules on them anyway, so we're content. YMMV.

 

But what do I know? I'm just the queen of england.

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I had no idea of your experience or qualifications and meant no offense, what you said didn't wholly jive with what I had read and heard elsewhere, also from reputable sources, so I was questioning it so I could be more informed.

 

Personally I don't think either system really works very well, theres some interesting stuff coming out of the house rules thread over on the Only War forum that seem cool though.

 

 

No harm done. I just like talking about this stuff. As they say, "when the opportunity presents itself, jump in."

 

There are a lot of things which don't jive very well when taking an abstract game and turning it into a non-abstract one. The semi/full auto ones are just a symptom of the disease as it were.

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To be honest, personally I would be more inclined to add aspects and elements from Deathwatch into Only War than vice versa, but this is largely the result of a bias originating in my appreciation of OW as the best of FFG's 40k RPGs yet, as far as rules are concerned.

 

Either way, perhaps OW's approach in regards to Full Auto modifiers would allow to bring back this firing mode for the boltgun?

 

As for the heavy bolter and bogi_khaosa's quite understandable concern, one way to address this would be to simply rewrite the Bulging Biceps talent in that it allows "bracing without support" at all, rather than this already being included in the Bracing Action where - for some reason - the rules do not make any difference between a person just standing in the open or actually supporting their heavy weapon on a bipod/tripod or at least a piece of the environment.

This would then replace the negation of the -30 penalty for firing an unbraced Heavy Weapon, requiring the operator to combine his Half Action Autofire Burst with a Half Action Brace, prohibiting additional movement.

 

As for the side-issue of the "realism" in autofire granting a greater chance to hit, I agree with Wonder Lemming. Obviously, the accuracy of the single round does not increase, but with an entire salvo being fired it becomes at least sensible that the ruleset would make it more likely that some of them hit their target by sheer coincidence. How much greater this chance should be is, of course, debatable, but I don't see how the basic principle should be wrong.

 

And this is before we even delve into the question of whether these sci-fi guns have notable recoil at all. The various sources of fluff are quite likely contradicting themselves on this detail, too, but considering what tricks are available to compensate for recoil today already, it is an option to consider.

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As for the heavy bolter and bogi_khaosa's quite understandable concern, one way to address this would be to simply rewrite the Bulging Biceps talent in that it allows "bracing without support" at all, rather than this already being included in the Bracing Action where - for some reason - the rules do not make any difference between a person just standing in the open or actually supporting their heavy weapon on a bipod/tripod or at least a piece of the environment.
This would then replace the negation of the -30 penalty for firing an unbraced Heavy Weapon, requiring the operator to combine his Half Action Autofire Burst with a Half Action Brace, prohibiting additional movement.

Ooh I like this.

 

What I am going to do is.

 

1. Use Lynata's  suggestion above.

 

2. Use pre-errata weapons stats.

 

3. Use the Only War/BC combat modifiers (but not Righteous Fury and Talents and Qualities), excapt where necessitated by a change in combat mechanics (such as Bolter Drill, in which the extra rate of fire doesn't mean much since you're not likely to hit with all of them).

 

I think that might just work.

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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Needless to say, Bulging Biceps wouldn't be something that a Devastator would need to buy in order to fire his Heavy Weapon in the open, though. It should be "innate" in some form.  :ph34r:

 

I see the talent as an exceptionally strong human's way to come close to that - and some (or most?) patterns of power armour would sport a feature that allows similar performance (-> SoB Retributors).

 

Thinking about it, I'd almost vote for simply ditching the talent altogether and just include a rule about a character requiring X Strength to brace a HW without support...  :P

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Needless to say, Bulging Biceps wouldn't be something that a Devastator would need to buy in order to fire his Heavy Weapon in the open, though. It should be "innate" in some form.  :ph34r:

 

I see the talent as an exceptionally strong human's way to come close to that - and some (or most?) patterns of power armour would sport a feature that allows similar performance (-> SoB Retributors).

 

Thinking about it, I'd almost vote for simply ditching the talent altogether and just include a rule about a character requiring X Strength to brace a HW without support...  :P

 

Here's what I'm doing for my current PbP game:

 

Bulging Biceps. As used in OW/BC, this effectively lets you use your heavy bolter as if it were a rifle, Half Moving and firing, unlike in DW, where you have stay still to fire it Full Auto. This doesn't feel right, and it also makes Auto-stabilized superfluous.

So what Bulging Biceps now does is

"This Talent allows a character to Brace a Heavy Weapon without some form of support; he can use his own body."

This means that you have to Brace to fire your heavy bolter, but you don't have to use a tripod or ledge or suchlike; you can just take a proper stance as a Half Action, bracing the weapon in your hands. Auto-stabilized, for its part, is now

"This Trait allows a character to fire a Heavy weapon without Bracing at all; he always counts as Braced."

 

And Brind Death from Afar gives you Auto-stabilized.

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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The point of firing more bullets is to put more bullets in the air. There is no "carefully aiming the gun" when the gun is bouncing all over the place in your hand from recoil.  If you've aimed on target then pulled the trigger the only round hitting where you aimed would be the 1st one out, each additional will be all over the place as the recoil moves the barrel all over the place.

 

As for "better chance to hit with the first shot"... How is firing 10 bullets going to make your first shot any more accurate? Its complete rubbish. In fact theres a psychologically higher chance for poor trigger control, 'shooting from the hip', or excessive bracing which throws off aim when a shooter lets loose on full auto. (Putting a scope up to your eye when the gun will be bucking a couple of inches in a moment isn't a very bright idea, neither is loosely griping it like you would with a single shot.) Ask any real shooter who knows what he's talking about and he'll tell you trying to hit a single target past 20yards with full auto is a waste of time.

 

The only time full auto weapons are worth using is against a large number of enemies at close range in a suprise engagement (the exact reason the M16 was built in the 60s). Or a massive number of enemies covering a large amount of area at distance. As stated in a fairly realistic movie, "Spread out, 5 guys together is machine gun bait, 1 is just a waste of ammo." (close enough) Shooting at minimum range gives a bonus, countering Only War's penalty, and shooting at large groups of enemies (hordes in DW) would also counter this penalty. Therefore Only War's method of semi/full auto makes sense and works as they probably should.

 

Dark Heresy "full-auto" is not "spray and pray". It takes the full 5 seconds of a round to do (near enough) and only fires a small number of rounds (most cap out at 10). Most automatic weapons fire roughly 10 rounds a second (or more). This means the 10 rounds represent careful aiming followed by 1 second of firing or, more likely, 2 or 3 short bursts with compensation between them, not holding your trigger down blindly hoping that something may hit. Used this way it makes you more likely to hit, not less. "Spray and Pray" (or I guess unaimed supressive fire) is best represented by the Overwatch and Supressive Fire actions, which are highly less likely to hit anything as they give you a -20% BS skill instead.

 

Now,. the bonus is probably too big, and they should never have errataed it so that you got an additional hit for every degree of success. This just made it too good.

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Dark Heresy "full-auto" is not "spray and pray". It takes the full 5 seconds of a round to do (near enough) and only fires a small number of rounds (most cap out at 10). Most automatic weapons fire roughly 10 rounds a second (or more). This means the 10 rounds represent careful aiming followed by 1 second of firing or, more likely, 2 or 3 short bursts with compensation between them, not holding your trigger down blindly hoping that something may hit. Used this way it makes you more likely to hit, not less. "Spray and Pray" (or I guess unaimed supressive fire) is best represented by the Overwatch and Supressive Fire actions, which are highly less likely to hit anything as they give you a -20% BS skill instead.

 

Now,. the bonus is probably too big, and they should never have errataed it so that you got an additional hit for every degree of success. This just made it too good.

 

 

Heh, if I were the kind of person to use the arguments regularly used against me, I'd mention how "pointless it is to apply real life stuff to a fantasy sci-fi game with brain magic and daemons."

 

But I'm not that kind of person.

 

Or I could mention you are using poorly thought out game mechanics to argue for poorly thought out game mechanics and against some reasonable and understandable changes (which you aren't forced to use in this setting) which address those mechanics.

 

But I won't.

 

I am also forced to point out, though, if all 10 bullets of your full-auto burst are zooming out of your gun in just a short 1 second burst then your characters just aren't firing long enough to walk the bullet hose onto the target, or even correct for the barrel rise from the recoil of those 10 bullets. Same thing for multiple short bursts which would not give enough time for the shooter to realign his aim very well at all. In the end, even the above arguments seem to support a penalty more so than any kind of bonus.

Edited by herichimo

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Heh, if I were the kind of person to use the arguments regularly used against me, I'd mention how "pointless it is to apply real life stuff to a fantasy sci-fi game with brain magic and daemons."

 

But I'm not that kind of person.

 

Or I could mention you are using poorly thought out game mechanics to argue for poorly thought out game mechanics and against some reasonable and understandable changes (which you aren't forced to use in this setting) which address those mechanics.

 

But I won't.

 

I am also forced to point out, though, if all 10 bullets of your full-auto burst are zooming out of your gun in just a short 1 second burst then your characters just aren't firing long enough to walk the bullet hose onto the target, or even correct for the barrel rise from the recoil of those 10 bullets. Same thing for multiple short bursts which would not give enough time for the shooter to realign his aim very well at all. In the end, even the above arguments seem to support a penalty more so than any kind of bonus.

 

Hmm, not keen on that "Oh I could have said" as a rhetorical style.

 

However, it seems odd to bother mentioning "but it isn't meant to be realistic" when you have been arguing that the old Full-Auto is unrealistic. Also, I personally feel the system is meant to be representative of something verging on realistic. Not a simulation by any sense of the word, but things that are better should be better, and things that are worse should be worse, rather than just making game stats for the purposes of game balance or game mechanics. I also feel that most of the calls of it being "unrealistic" are due to a misunderstanding of what the action represents.

 

"Poorly thought out mechanics?" I understand the reasons for the changes, and I don't think them unreasonable, at least from a game design standpoint. The old system made Full-auto the be-all-and-end-all of options. There were only occasionally reasons not to blaze away on full auto. It also encouraged static fights, as you cannot move and full auto. There was also very few reasons to use semi-auto, unless you had no other option. The new system makes the various firing modes more of a choice ("More potential damage or more likelihood of hitting?"). Making everything a half action gives more room for mobility.

 

On the other hand, I still personally don't like the change. I am not saying they shouldn't have have changed it at all, but I am not terribly impressed by the change they have implemented. I personally would have preffered something like returning to "1 extra hit for every 2 DoS", changing Semi-Auto to a half action (and retaining the same bonus to hit), and having Called Shots only being an option for Single Shot. Now, I cannot say how well that balances, as I have not had a chance to try it (group is not playing 40k rpg at the moment), but to me it feels more "right".

 

Personally I wasn't really considering "walking the shot" as being a real reason for the bonus to hit. If it was, Full-Auto bursts should use a heck of a lot more ammunition. However, as said by Wonder Lemming the chance to hit with the first shot of a burst is entirely unaffected by the rest of the burst. If you have a full 5 second action to make a 1 second burst, then I personally would feel you are already including a half action aim (+10) as part of the action. At the very least this would mean that a full-auto burst is worth a +10,  but then I don't think this is even what it is most likely to represent, but the 2-3 sighted, short, controlled bursts I mentioned. Careful aiming, rather than just sighted shooting, is a shot after an Aim action, so even normal single-shots are not carefully aimed. Compared to a single sighted shot, a number of sighted controlled bursts will be more likely to result in a hit.

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I have a feeling we may just be overthinking it.

 

The book states "full-auto burst", not "bursts", so that's how I interpret it. Just like I'm fairly sure that the intention behind this rule is that "more bullets = bigger chance of at least one hitting the target".

 

As to the time gap, I would point to the text explaining how close combat works. Just like you don't have two people standing face to face to each other, not moving a bit aside from one melee strike every 5 seconds, you also won't have a shooter stand in place and "only" discharge their weapon (unless they do not actually have their life threatened). They will duck behind their cover, peek over it, duck again, quickly rising up to take aim and let loose a burst of bullets before getting down again. Or, in the open, they will move a bit, fire, perhaps kneel down, signal their friends (Free Actions take time, too!), check what effect their attack had, yell something ...

There are a lot of unimportant yet natural "actions" to fill those precious 5 seconds with, and gunfire isn't the only thing the character needs to do, even when it is the only action that actually has any mechanical effect. Get creative. ;)

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