Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Questionable Methods

Suggestion on fixing bolt and melta weapons

Recommended Posts

So, my friends and I who are reading through this are so far underwhelmed by bolt and melta weapons this edition.  Armor universally got a bit of a boost, and cover got almost ten times better.  

 

Self-propelled missiles that could punch through most conventional armor now are having a hard time with flak, and ray weapons that are used to tear apart tank hulls and bulk heads can't even blast straight through balsa wood. 

 

So without dicking around with the damage and pen too much (which I'm sure are there for a reason...scratch that I HOPE are there for a reason)-

 

BOLT - Give bolt weapons their own special rule that either grant a +5 on wound charts if the person has not yet been injured in the current combat.  Alternatively it could  automatically inflict a fatigue point the first time someone takes damage from a bolt weapon.

 

MELTA - Take the current special rule for meltas - "When fired at a target within half the range or used in melee, the target does not add his armor points to his defense value" and add...

  • "Unless the individual would be able to benefit from cover.  In this case the cover is bypassed instead of armor.  Cover bypassed by a melta weapon has its value reduced in the same fashion as if the weapon had done damage to surpass its AP bonus." 
  • Alternatively it could read "In addition, any cover the target benefits from counts for half its normal protection against melta weapons."

 NOTE - On the off chance I am not conveying these ideas as clearly as I think they sound up in the ol' thinker-box; I am not saying the rule would be written as an 'either/or' situation.  I am saying these are my proposals for how the rule COULD read.

Edited by Questionable Methods

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bolters been hit with a nerf bat in this edition, and that should be fixed, increase the damage and pen some, with melta, I really don't see the issue, if the melta gun is fired, and anything it hits on half it's range is penetrated, so if a guy is hiding behind a 5 meter thick column, and you are standing 5 meters away from the column with your fancy inferno gun, the blast will penetrate the column, but get normal pen when hitting anything beyond the 10 meters

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I say leave melta guns as they are, except add an exception for vehicle armour (penetrating a land raider at point blank? Kinda silly!)

It makes sense in terms of the fluff for them to not be spectacular at penetrating over decent ranges, and it makes them more of an interesting weapon anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bolters been hit with a nerf bat in this edition, and that should be fixed, increase the damage and pen some, with melta, I really don't see the issue, if the melta gun is fired, and anything it hits on half it's range is penetrated, so if a guy is hiding behind a 5 meter thick column, and you are standing 5 meters away from the column with your fancy inferno gun, the blast will penetrate the column, but get normal pen when hitting anything beyond the 10 meters

You might not say that bolters have been hit with a nerf bat if you see them in actual combat, especially Storm Bolters.  That RoF combined with Tearing ensures higher chance of Righteous Fury, allowing for one-shot kills on Elites and Novices, and their high-for-this-new-system damage and pen allows them to start racking up the wounds on Master level enemies.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Equal or better damage than a sniper rifle with 1 less pen, usable in melee or without being braced, and a better RoF aren't anything to sneeze at for plasma weapons. They have a 5-10% chance of painful failure, but are still VERY powerful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect FFG are well aware of the 'community disquiet' over the messed up weapon stats.  I think i'll reserve meaningful comment until we see a (presumably imminent) revised stat table!

 

:D

 

That said, i'd suggest bolters should have the following:

 

Bolt Pistol - Close quarters, Concussive (1), Felling, Piercing

 

Bolter - Concussive (1), Felling, Piercing

 

Storm bolter - Concussive (1), Felling, Piercing, Storm

 

Heavy bolter - Concussive (2), Felling, Piercing, Storm, Tearing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the desire to make bolt weapons more appealing, but I'd rather they be comparable to the other weapons, not demonstrably better. Why bother having a big list of guns if the bolters are basically the best? I personally think they work well enough now, though I'm not opposed to a slight power increase. I don't want them to be incredibly better than sp and las guns, or mostly better than plasma and melta, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why bother having a big list of guns if the bolters are basically the best?

 

Agreed.  So they should be the best at what they do eh?

 

Everyone should want a bolter.  They're iconic.  They should outperform most other small arms.  However, you can balance that by cost, ammo supply issues (you just can't carry enough without power armour!), unreliability without constant maintenance, etc.

 

So you need a killer gun - the bolter's it.

 

Need something for long term reliable field use?  Lasguns are the choice.

So make them reliable, cheap, high ammo capacity and availability, and flexible.  Give the lasguns multi settings so they can be used as weapons (basic and hotshot), flashlights, cutting/welding tools, heaters, improvised bombs, etc.  Make them an 'all purpose battle tool', that can be recharged readily.

 

Can't get a lasgun?  Autoguns will do.  They lack the flexibility and ammo's an issue but they do the job well enough.

 

Need to blend into the underhive?  Hooboy is a lasgun going to stick out like a sore thumb.  Best strap a stub revolver to your hip and hope for the best.  It'll still drop a cultist pretty good, if you can get it to work, and there's always ammo avaiable.  And hopfully you should be able to blend in as a local so won't need to use it at all...   

 

Etc.

 

That way no one weapon or weapon type is 'best', but each is 'best for a specific task/role'.

 

A bolter might blow a hole in a ceramite door, but carrying the **** thing is a nightmare, keeping it working without proper maintenance is almost impossible, and concealing it?  Forget it.  Plus every ganger within 500 yards hears the blast when you pull the trigger.  Got enough ammo to take down all those glory hunters who want your iconic battle weapon for themselves?

Edited by Luddite

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say bolters should be the go-to 'regular' gun. I.e. you'd only go with other options for specialist roles. It should be significantly better than Las and SP, in my eyes, but a LOT of emphasis should be put on the difficulty of keeping up a healthy ammo supply, and maintaining the guns (maybe a penalty to repair tests?). It might be worth cutting them out of some of the special ammo, too, to give SP more appeal as a versatile choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem, though, is that most of the negatives to the Bolter that you propose are narratively based without any actual rules behind them. It's up to the GM to remember to punish the player for having a Bolter, rather than it being limited by the rules. I'd prefer the Bolter be somewhat depowered compared to the fluff as a way to balance it against other weapons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, here's how I'd approach it, to try and stay fluff friendly but balanced.

 

Firstly, Bolter rounds should be a ***** to acquire. Make them have a pretty notable negative modifier, and make it so that they're acquired in small volumes (one magazine worth per Acquisition?). That way, you're wasting a (potentially failed) acquisition for each magazine worth of shells you fire.

 

Secondly, make them unreliable. Bolters are often talked up in the fluff as being hard to maintain, capricious weapons. Unreliable could reflect that well. This has a secondary effect. Remember, failing the test to unjam a gun reduces its status. This means that you'll be constantly needing to repair the gun to keep it up to scratch, which is going to be a pain. 

 

Thirdly, cut down on the special ammo they have avaliable, by a lot. Special rounds should largely be SP's territory. It's what makes SP guns so appealing; the sheer versatility. Giving bolters access to their special bullets cheapens that.

 

With all of those measures in place, I think you could comfortably keep bolters as a fairly potent choice, in terms of how effective they are at killing things. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem, though, is that most of the negatives to the Bolter that you propose are narratively based without any actual rules behind them. It's up to the GM to remember to punish the player for having a Bolter, rather than it being limited by the rules. I'd prefer the Bolter be somewhat depowered compared to the fluff as a way to balance it against other weapons.

 

So make those 'negatives' mechanical.  I think DH2b already has a lot in place:

 

Condition degradation/maintenance

Weight

Distance the bolter is heard from

Availability/cost

Etc.

 

I don't understand why you should want to downgrade the iconic 40k weapon?

 

'Game balance'?  Baffling.  Why not make all weapons have the same stats if that's the case.  Nice and balanced then...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, game balance. By that I mean that a player who chooses to use one kind of weapon isn't getting screwed for his choice. This comes up with roleplay and mechanical differences between players. Bolters are iconic, along with chainswords, and they both get the iconic tearing ability (which increases damage and nearly doubles the chance of a righteous fury). I don't think iconic necessarily needs to mean "best weapon choice in general". Bolters do a good chunk of damage now, and get to use special ammunition. They're basically better versions of sp weapons but lacking in specialized ability. I don't know that they really need to be incredibly better, but I did say I'd be fine with giving them a slight upgrade. I think that some sacrifice has to be made to keep in mind that this is a game and a game needs balanced rules.

Edit: (Tom Cruise already brought this up, along with a jamming rule for degradation I hadn't noticed, so good on him!) As far as degradation goes, I think it would be a lovely idea and indicative of the setting to have jammed guns or weapons decrease in quality in addition to its other effects. Could also make bolters unreliable to reflect this.

Weight is a sticky wicket in RPGs. Some people use it, some people ignore it, and it adds to book keeping. Also, how heavy could a gun designed for human use really get?

Sound of shots strikes me as one of those rules that is rarely going to get used. I would not bother with it for the current Subtlety system, and even in the changed system I suggested I would just abstract it to a few levels.

Availability is an option to balance the gun being more powerful, although you then run into the iconic weapon not being around until higher levels of play.

I don't disagree with wanting to make the bolters cool and unique, but I don't think they should be the equivalent of a handheld rocket launcher.

Edited by Nimsim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't disagree with wanting to make the bolters cool and unique, but I don't think they should be the equivalent of a handheld rocket launcher.

 

 

Um...isn't that what they are?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a combination of my ideas and Luddite's proposed changes would be pretty effective. Adding extra weapon qualities is more interesting than a straight damage increase, and is more terrifying to deal with. So, the statline changes the same, except for the following;

 

 

Carrying a bolter effectively count as carrying a heavy weapon for the sake of Subtlety.

 

Bolters gain Concussive (1), Felling, and Piercing. I'm still unsure on Concussive, but it could be worthwhile. If piercing stays, Pen might be worth reducing (cutting down armour by 2 and THEN halving it is pretty brutal even for a bolter).

 

Bolter rounds should be -20 to acquire, and you only get one magazine per acquisition, not the usual two. This may be a bit cruel though, I'm not completely decided.

 

Bolters gain Unreliable, to represent the difficulty of maintaining such an ancient, capricious firearm. Potentially also include a negative modifier to repair them; it takes skilled hands to maintain a bolter, it's not something your average underhive weapons dealer can do.

 

Bolters lose access to special ammunition types entirely. Maybe leave a couple (inferno shells probably, as they're canon bolter rounds). But overall, there shouldn't be much avaliable. Bolters shouldn't be stepping on the toes of SP by accessing all the special ammunition choices, they should have their own merits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fluffwise, yes, but rules wise that would negate any reason to use an actual rocket launcher and would also negate the reason to use most other weapons. 40k has a problem of all the weapons being "the most totally awesome thing ever!" which makes balancing a massive pain. Having a one-shot-one-kill weapon makes the game way too deadly for extended play and makes other weapons look like crap. You're kind of left with the option of having things like power armor and bolters being miles above everything else, essentially completely changing the game once they're acquired (Emperor help you if only one player has it!), or you have reduce their power down in the rules in order to keep things scaled and playable. What works in a tabletop game where you have multiple soldiers and reset them after every combat doesn't work as well in a game meant to sustain long campaigns and characters with over 20 sessions of experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This gets at one of my core irritations with the weapons as they stand, is there isn't a whole lot of flavor to distinguish between the different types of weapons. Bolt weapons are iconic and supposed to be pretty powerful (otherwise why would space marines make it their standard?). However, other types of weapons are really powerful too, like plasma weapons. they don't do the same things or cause damage in different ways. This isn't really reflected in the current stats. I like Luddite's and tom cruises suggestion of using a variety of special qualities to give each weapon type. Each should have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and that's a convenient way to do it without really playing with the stat blocks too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I say leave melta guns as they are, except add an exception for vehicle armour (penetrating a land raider at point blank? Kinda silly!)

It makes sense in terms of the fluff for them to not be spectacular at penetrating over decent ranges, and it makes them more of an interesting weapon anyway.

 

Actually on the table top Melts weapons are THE BEST WAY to pen a Landraider.  The mechanic is the strength of a melta weapon is doubled when it is at half range so it would be strength 16+d6 against armor 14 which is an automatic penetration and very likely to make the Landraider go boom.

 

Think of them as an anti-vehicle shotgun, and utterly devastating one-on-one but not effective against hordes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wrote that post pre-errata. I.e. when they outright ignored armour at close range. Which is okay against most things, but not heavy tanks. You do have a point about them being good at damaging land raiders, but I think it's important to differentiate doing damage and completely rendering armour irrelevant. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually on the table top Melts weapons are THE BEST WAY to pen a Landraider.  The mechanic is the strength of a melta weapon is doubled when it is at half range so it would be strength 16+d6 against armor 14 which is an automatic penetration and very likely to make the Landraider go boom.

 

Actually 8+2d6 at under half range.  So 66% chance, not auto.  But that also gave them a maximum armour pen of 19, and they could glance 20.  Though 14 was the max armour.

 

I agree that the Melta should make a mockery of armour.  But you have to get almost suicidally close to do it, like the WW2 Panzerfaust.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...