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Combat Test: 3 - NPCs Only!

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I haven't had a chance to post this till now due to IRL financial issues, but now those are not quite as looming, here's Combat Test 3, where I take two forces of NPCs apparently of equal value and watch as one curbstomps the other.  


What I’m testing for:

Major NPC battles – what are they like to run?

Are the Eldar stats any good?

With large numbers of combatants, does the system break down?

In a combat with lots of high RoF weapons, do low RoF weapons also help out?

Melta quality – does it work in its new form?

Shotguns – is Spray the right quality for them or do we want the old scatter back? 

Battles over vast areas (100m+): do they work?


The Situation

Our brave heroes from Combat Test 2 have other things to do, so we cut now to a patrol of 5 Desoleum Cadre Troopers, 3 Arbitrators and a Tech Priestess (an acolyte of the same Inquisitor as our good friends the from the other tests, but using NPC stats because) who have been sent to clean out a reported Eldar scouting party from an area just outside the Hive.  Upon an open (but somehow still scattered with chest high walls) plain of rock, ash and filth, the Eldar have set upon them with a force of 3 Guardians, 2 Dire Avengers, and a Pathfinder. 


The Combat

No-one has Fear, so there are no issues there.  Everyone gains the 2AP from not being surprised, the Imperial forces don’t. 


Initiative is rolled, combat order going as follows: 1st Eldar Guardian, 1st Dire Avenger, the Pathfinder, 2 of the Cadre Troopers, the 2nd Guardian, the other Dire Avenger, the last Guardian, the Tech Priestess, the first Arbitrator, the remaining troopers, and trudging in last, the remaining Arbitrators. 


Round 1

The Eldar Guardian raises his Shruiken Catapult and spends 2AP to fire 6 shots at the Cadre Troopers.  He has a target of 56 and rolls a 70, missing with all 6 shots.  Whoops.  There’s nowhere he really wants to move with Run and Gun, so with 1AP remaining he ends his Turn. 

The Dire Avenger spends 1AP on his special ability, Bladestorm, that grants his next attack the Spray quality.  He then spends 2AP firing his Shruiken Catapult.  This, due to Spray, hits every member of the Imperial Forces save the Tech-Priestess and one Cadre Trooper.  He has a target of 66 and rolls a 29 for 11DoS (+1 from Barrage, original doubled from Storm), hitting each target with 6 hits!  Each tries to Evade, but given the DoS none of them are able to avoid even 1 hit.  The hits are Right Arm, Body, Body, Right Leg, Left Leg, Right Arm again on all targets.  All Cadre Troopers hit are killed instantly.  The 1st Arbitrator takes a 9R Wound effect to his Right Arm, and a 15R Critical Wound effect to his Body that kills him instantly.  The 2nd Arbitrator takes a 15R wound effect to his Right Arm, a 13R wound effect to his Body, another 10R wound effect to his Body, a 10R Wound effect to his Right Leg, a 12R Wound effect to his Left Leg, and a 8R Wound effect to his Right Arm.  In total he suffers a Crippled Right Arm, Strength Decay (5), Blood Loss (10), is Slowed for 9 Round, falls Prone, and is left with enough Injuries to ensure another shot will kill him.  The 3rd Arbitrator takes an 8R Wound effect to his Right Arm, a 9R Wound effect to his Body, a 6R Wound effect to his Body, a 10R Wound effect to his Right Leg, and a Critical to his Left Leg that kills him.  With 1AP remaining, and having killed 6 people, the 1st Dire Avenger ends their turn. 

The Pathfinder spends 1 AP on Eye of Vengeance, spends her free AP aiming at the Tech-Priestess, and 2 more AP firing her Long Rifle at said Tech-Priestess.  She has a target of 89 to hit, and rolls a 38 for 6DoS.  The Tech-Priestess attempts to Evade with a target of 22, rolling a 44 and failing.  She is hit in the Left Arm for a 15E Wound effect.  Her Left Arm is fried and she suffers (due to lucky rolls), Agility Decay (2) and nothing more.  With 1AP remaining the Pathfinder ends their Turn. 

The second Eldar Guardian spends 1AP moving up to some nearby cover and 1AP shooting at the wounded Arbitrator.  He rolls a 49 for 2DoS and 2 out of 3 hits.  The Arbitrator attempts to Evade, rolling an 80 for 6DoF.  Both shots take the Arbitrator in the Body, dealing a 32R and a 37R Wound effect.  The shots rip the Arbitrator in two, sending blood and viscera out for 4m.  With 1AP remaining, the Guardian ends their turn. 

The second Dire Avenger spends 3AP moving to a position where he has clear line of sight on the remaining two Imperials.  With 1AP remaining, he ends his Turn. 

The last Eldar Guardian spends 2AP shooting at the Tech-Priestess and succeeds with 10DoS.  The Tech-Priestess fails the evasion.  The Guardian hits Head and Left Arm for a 6R wound on the Head and an 8R wound on the Arm.  The arm wound has no effect, but the Head wound slices the Tech-Priestess’s cheek open, Blinding her for 1 Round and giving her Blood Loss (1).  With 1AP remaining the Guardian ends their Turn. 

The Tech-Priestess suffers 1 Fatigue from Blood Loss and reduces her Blood Loss to 0.  Eyes covered in Blood and caught in the open she dives into Cover with 3AP and with 1AP remaining ends her Turn. 

The lucky last Cadre Trooper spends 2AP also diving into Cover and with 1AP remaining ends his Turn. 


Round 2

The first Eldar Guardian spends 1AP moving into Cover (Body, Legs) and another AP shooting at the Tech-Priestess.  He rolls a 59 and misses.  With 1AP remaining he ends his Turn. 

The massacre filled Dire Avenger spends 3AP moving, and 1AP drawing his sword to finish this up close and personal.  With no AP remaining he ends his Turn. 

The Pathfinder uses the same actions as before to shoot at the Tech-Priestess.  She rolls a 36 for another 6DoS.  The Tech-Priestess once again fails her Evasion and is hit in the Right Arm with a Critical Wound that instantly slays her, punching through Cover and Armour with ease to ignite her body.  With 1AP remaining, the Pathfinder ends her Turn. 

The second Eldar Guardian simply opens up on the last Trooper with all 3AP, rolling a 14 for 10DoS, enough to hit with all 9 shots!  The Trooper rolls a 03 for Evasion, gaining 5DoS, enough to only be hit with 5 shots, that impact against the cover such that they’d hit him on his Head, Left Arm, Body, Right Leg, and Left Leg.  None of them do enough damage to punch through the thick rock. 

The second Dire Avenger spends all 4AP sprinting towards the Trooper.  He just manages to reach a pillar of rock and take cover. 

The last Guardian also spends all 3AP shooting wildly.  However he just misses instead. 

The massively outnumbered Trooper takes a deep breath.  Whispering the Litanies of Detonation he pulls the pin from his Krak Grenade, and tosses it without a glance towards where the foul xenos (Dire Avenger 2) lurks.  He takes a -20 penalty to the BS test, but rolling a 26 succeeds with 2DoS, enough to bounce it to the xenos’ feet.  The xenos in question has no AP to evade, and is hit for 1d10+14E Pen 0, Piercing damage in his Right Arm.  He takes a 13E wound effect to that location, taking Agility Decay (3) and 1 Fatigue.  With 1AP remaining the Trooper ends his Turn, still not exposed from his attack due to blind-firing. 


Round 3

The first Eldar Guardian spends 3AP shooting the filthy mon-keigh.  With a roll of 77 he misses horrendously. 

The first Dire Avenger spends 4AP running forward screaming Khaine’s name.  With no AP remaining he ends his Turn. 

The Pathfinder spends the same actions as before, this time focused on the Trooper.  Another 6DoS on the to hit roll – the Trooper doesn’t waste an Evade action trying to escape.  The attack does 14E Pen 10 damage, bursting through the cover and reducing its AP to 19, but not penetrating the trusty flak armour of the Trooper’s Left Arm.  With 1AP remaining she ends her Turn. 

The second Eldar Guardian spends 3AP reloading. 

With 2AP the Dire Avenger flanks the Trooper, getting into Cover (Body, Legs), and spending 1AP firing his Shruiken Catapult at the Trooper.  He has a target of 60.  He rolls a 98 and misses. 

The third Eldar Guardian spends 3AP reloading. 

The Trooper spins to face the Dire Avenger.  Roaring the Litany of battle he Overcharges his Lasgun and spends 2AP firing it.  He rolls a 2 for 6DoS.  The xenos fails his Evasion, struck with all 4 shots, Leg, Right Arm, Body, Body.  The Leg shot splashes against the rock, the other three striking home to deal an 9E wound effect to the Body and Arm and an additional 7E wound effect to the Body.  The Dire Avenger drops his Shruiken Catapult, and is Weakened for 1 Round.  His gun lands 5 metres away in the area between him and the Trooper.  With 1AP remaining the Trooper ends his Turn. 


Round 4

The first Eldar Guardian spends his Turn reloading. 

The Dire Avenger spends 1AP moving, 1AP Charging, and the third AP slicing at the Trooper with a RoA of 3.  He has a target of 58 and rolls a 35 for 3DoS, enough to hit with each attack.  The Trooper spends his AP and rolls his Evasion Test, target 42.  He rolls a 37, enough to avoid 2 of the hits.  The third hits, to deal a single Wound.  As the Trooper doesn’t use wound tables, even though the attack did 19 damage, he doesn’t take any conditions. 

The Pathfinder spends the same Actions as before to fire another shot at the Trooper (still in Cover).  She rolls a 90, just missing. 

The second Eldar Guardian spends 1AP aiming, and 1AP shooting.  He misses, with a roll of 67.  2 of his shots hit the Dire Avenger instead, in the Body and Right Leg.  The Dire Avenger evades, annoyed.  The Guardian ends his Turn with 1AP. 

The injured Dire Avenger draws his own sword with 1AP, spends 1AP moving towards the Trooper and saves 2AP for any tricks the Trooper might try. 

The third Guardian spends 1AP aiming but 2AP shooting.  He rolls a 92, missing the combat entirely. 

The Cadre Trooper knows he doesn’t have the time to Disengage properly.  Whispering a prayer to the Emperor and to every Saint he can remember he backpedals out of cover, hoping it isn’t the last act he ever does.  The Dire Avenger rolls to hit with his sword , and rolls a 61, missing with his fast blows.  The Trooper makes it to Cover behind the next rock, with such an angle that he can shoot the Dire Avenger without leaning out of cover.  With 1AP, the Trooper spins to the injured Dire Avenger and fires a short, Overcharged, burst.  He hits with 2DoS, enough for both shots to hit.  The Dire Avenger rolls a 52, avoiding one shot, but not enough to avoid the red blast of laspower that strikes him in the chest for wound effect 24E, knocking him Unconscious for 4 Rounds, giving him Burning (12), the Lost Internal Organ condition and permanently reducing his Willpower by 4.  With 1AP remaining, the Trooper ends his Turn. 


Round 5

Eldar Guardian 1 Aims, Aims again, and fires a short burst at the Trooper.  He hits with 4DoS, the shots pounding against the rock and dealing no damage due to the thickness of the Cover - thankfully, as one was a Critical.   

Dire Avenger 1, sword still drawn, Charges the Trooper.  He hits with 6DoS.  The Trooper Evades, rolling a 6 for 5DoS, enough to dodge the first blow, the second blow…but the third, the third cuts into his head, killing him and ending the combat. 

The Eldar are not in time to save Dire Avenger 2, who on his round is entirely carbonised by the fire, flesh melting from his bones, setting his compatriot on fire as he explodes, and causing the Pathfinder, the third Eldar Guardian and the surviving Dire Avenger to flee in madness and terror at the sight of what a lone Guardsman can do. 



What I’ve Learned

Bladestorm – the most overpowered special action EVER.  This is partly due to Spray allowing the hits from the attack to remain the same, so the Dire Avenger could fire 6 shots and hit 7 people 6 times each.  Either Spray or Bladestorm or both need to be revised to prevent TPKs from these guys, as two each firing a Bladestorm could massacre a party, the first setting up 5 or 6 wounds, the second using the bonuses on the tables to slay them.  Spray needs to only have RoA 1, or something similar. 

Other than that, the Eldar seem fairly balanced, if with ridiculous RoF.  3 on Dire Avenger’s swords?  Jeez. 

Arbitrators have such low Agility that they’re useless as NPCs. 

Eye of Vengeance is a must get for any Sniper character. 

Once again, the only two wounds for Novices seems to break down in that it makes them TOO DURABLE when the wound tables aren’t used.  An Elite can be disabled by a high damage non critical hit – a Novice shrugs it off with a laugh. 

Also, when I finally play rather than GM this I’m going to be an ex Involute Trooper whose compatriots were massacred by Eldar, but managed to stay alive enough to kill a Dire Avenger, but lost his nose to an Eldar sword blow that should have killed him.  The Emperor Protects!  

Edited by AlphariusOmegon7

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Any sword has a RoF of AB-3, so an acolyte with an agility of 60 (quite a reachable target, in fact only 700 xp if you use point allocation during character generation and start with an AG of 45) would get the same RoA.


Bladestorm does seem pretty overpowered, I'll definitely agree with you there. With shotguns and flamers, Spray isn't that much of a balance issue due to the low RoF, but the combination of Spray, Storm and a high base RoF seems completely out of balance.

Other than that, I like it better than the old scatter quality, since scatter always seemed so underwhelming...additional hits for DoS, but only at point blank, meant you could simply use an autogun and get far better results. Spray is actually useful and feels distinct.

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That dire avenger killing or nearly incapacitating 6 guys in one turn of shooting is something my eldar-playing friend would love to have in his army. That clearly needs some rebalancing.


Also, am I the only one that finds a krak grenade only causing some fatigue and agility decay too poor? (Not to mention that a krak grenade with Pen 0 seems counterintuitive. Was it supposed to be a frag?).


As usual, thanks for running these tests, AlphariusOmegon.

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