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Abolishing TB from wound rolls, and upping Armour by 2 points

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In our group we had many a firefight whereby the combat just wasn't deadly enough, and those with even flak armour could feasibly shrug off a bolter round if a high damage roll wasn't scored. The culprit was the Toughness Bonus being subtracted from the damage in addition to the armour. We tried it without the TB and suddenly it became too deadly so we came up with this idea.

Bump up the armour value of all armour by 2 points, add TB to total wounds, and when working out combat it's just plain damage minus the modified armour value.

What are your opinions?

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The TB bonus being subtracted from damage does seem to be a somewhat strange idea if you ask me.  Your solution seems like it would be functional, though it definitely would make the game more deadly.  One thing I would note is that it would seem to make armor much more important, but if you and your group are okay with that, more power to ya.

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Uh, how can someone with a flakvest shrug of Bolter rounds?

The Flak Vest has AP5 against X, so only one point of armor comes into calculation against a bolter. A starting acolythe has a TB of 3, maybe 4, so you substract 4-5 points of damage.

A Bolter does 1D10+5 with Tearing, thats an average of 12,xx so every average hit gives your acolythes 7 to 8 points of damage, not calculated in the higher change of invocing Righteous Fury or SemiAuto

 

Was ist possible that you simply forget the penetration?

 

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Schwarzie said:

Uh, how can someone with a flakvest shrug of Bolter rounds?

The Flak Vest has AP5 against X, so only one point of armor comes into calculation against a bolter. A starting acolythe has a TB of 3, maybe 4, so you substract 4-5 points of damage.

A Bolter does 1D10+5 with Tearing, thats an average of 12,xx so every average hit gives your acolythes 7 to 8 points of damage, not calculated in the higher change of invocing Righteous Fury or SemiAuto

 

Was ist possible that you simply forget the penetration?

 

I think that was sort of his point, all starting acolytes have more than 7-8 wounds.  So they would survive the bolter round.

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Talking about Lemons of this house rule:

  • You have to create new house rules for creatures which benefit from high toughness (Fenksworld Pit Thing), unnatural toughness (Orcs, many warp creatures) and the daemonic-trait (all warp creatures). All of which will become quiet easy kills if their TB simply does not apply any longer
  • Toughness becomes an attribute which is far less "usefull" to raise since the TB-Bonus is its major use... unless you run a campaing with a lot of plague&poison! As a result, classes which have Toughness as one of their "major attributes" might start to lack appeal.

#

By the way: I would not apply the "Flakk 5" against bolter rounds. It is an explosive weapon, right. But as far as I know, it does explode after penetration, so the "flakk effect" might not come into use at all.

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I  "solved" the issue by looking at the number of wounds instead. As a rule of thumb, if I can't be bothered to give the character a name then I use half the wounds the character would normally have, i.e. 5 wounds instead of 10 for the predefined characters in the back of the rule book.

Reducing the number of wounds for disposable NPCs like mooks, cultists, lackeys and guards allow the PCs and more advanced NPCs to endure while removing the problem of seemingly indestructible minions. Suddenly a bolter-shot (S5, Pen 4) is very likely indeed to take out a cultist in a single shot, and even lasweapons have a significant effect against unarmoured targets.

I also use a critical hit chart for critical effects rather than tracking critical damage. The end result is that there's a lot less book-keeping in the big fights. Minions are typically unharmed by weak (low) damage rolls or killed out-right by a solid (high) damage rolls.

-K

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By the way: I would not apply the "Flakk 5" against bolter rounds. It is an explosive weapon, right. But as far as I know, it does explode after penetration, so the "flakk effect" might not come into use at all.

I wouldn't let the flak rule apply against bolters either - RAW, it only works against weapons with the Blast trait and even then only when you're not in the middle of the blast.

 

Otherwise, I think the rules are fine as they are. Maybe one bolt round doesn't down enemies (that is, if you don't happen to roll well - after all, Tearing has a chance of almost 1/5 of triggering Fury), but the second almost assuredly will. The only thing I'd think about would be deducing one point of armour value from the package solution helmets (feudal plate, guard flak, Storm Trooper carapace and the two power armours) so that head shots are a little more deadly - notice how all the stand-alone helmets already have less AP than the rest of the available gear.

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Schwarzie said:

The Flak Vest has AP5 against X,

 

No, it doesn't. Flak armour has AP5 against weapons with the Blast quality, as explained on page 144 of the rulebook. Not all Blast weapons are damage type X, and not all damage type X weapons have the Blast quality.

 Edit: Someone got there first... mainly because I didn't read the whole thread before replying...

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By RAW it doesn't protect against bolter shells, but by background it shouldn't protect against plasma blasts, but it does because they have the blast trait.

It's there to reflect the increased protection from shrapnel and kinetic energy waves, but a plasma blast doesn't really have either.

 

That's why it should only work on weapons that are both X and Blast.

 

Hellebore

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I knew someone would mention that. To me that isn't a reason not to fix it. That's just taking a cracked wall and putting a facade over it rather than actually fixing the wall. Just because you can't see the cracks doesn't mean they aren't there.

 

It is't just plasma weapons though, anything that is a blast weapon that is also not an explosive weapon (which is an oxymoron but hey) will suffer the same problems.

 

Hellebore

 

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The armor penetration of a bolt shell is 4 and it's damage is +5 (not counting any talents or other effects that might add to damage).  Aainst someone in full soldier flack, that's a whopping 1d10+9 Explosive damage.  That means that even with a TB of 5 you are going to be taking damage no matter how low the die roll.

As long as you know what your players' are capable of (which you should since you're their GM) then you can the lethality of the opponents easily enough by setting their weapons and talents as appropriate.  You just have to do the math beforehand.  Right now, I am using the following formula for a campaign where the players are using SP weapons with manstopper rounds and high-pen energy weapons:

Average Player Character Assumption: TB 4 & Armour 4 w/ 13 wounds

Peon/Cannon Fodder = 1d10+3 (8 avg dmg): These individuals attack in swarms.  Cultists, goblins, or whatever the fodder, there will be a large number of them.  They won't hit very often and, even when they do, many shots will be grazing blows that merely plink off the players' armor.  (Math says 50% chance to do 1 to 5 dmg to the player on a successful hit)

Well-trained Grunt/Enforcer = 1d10+3 w/ Pen.3 (9 avg dmg): These are trained warriors.  They often come in small squads lead by an elite version of their ilk with better aim.  When they hit, you can expect it's going to sting. (Math says 80% chance of doing 1 to 5 damage).

Huge Nasty Xenos = 1d10+10 (15 avg dmg): This sucker is bad juju.  When he hits you it is going to hurt... bad.  If you're not wearing any armor then this smack is likely to kill you. (Math says 100% chance of doing 3 to 13 damage and two hits will kill an average player).

Those are just some examples kind of off-the-cuff, but you get the idea.  The Average Player Character Assumption will change with the advancement of the characters at my table.  I get the averages by assuming that each d10 rolled for damage is a 5.5.  I count Accurate and Tearing weapons as a 7 average damage and ignore any bonus dice which would be granted by either of these qualities.  It's dirty math, but it lets me have a fairly good amount of control over which encounters are going to change the moods of my players.  :)

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Of note:

Removing TB from the damage soak and simply adding 2 to armour means that unarmoured combat is now LETHAL, even for unarmed brawls (1D5-3+SB) with no TB deduction is 1-5 LETHAL damage every punch, plus an automatic fatigue...

Second, you need to restat every hostile creature and encounter that is not a "scummer jumps you in the alley" type from now on....

Third, if you have any munchkins or number-crunchers at your table you will see a miracle of firepower emerge at your table called "Autogun with Manstopper ammo on full auto".  They are already borderline broken in effectiveness.  Remove TB and thicken armour by 2 and every thug will want this (reasonably cheap) loadout as it bypasses your added armour!

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Hellebore said:

I knew someone would mention that. To me that isn't a reason not to fix it. That's just taking a cracked wall and putting a facade over it rather than actually fixing the wall. Just because you can't see the cracks doesn't mean they aren't there.

It is't just plasma weapons though, anything that is a blast weapon that is also not an explosive weapon (which is an oxymoron but hey) will suffer the same problems.

 

Er, your object is that Plasma should not be stopped by something as puny as Flak Armor. And, due to Plasma's pen value, it isn't. That is exactly what Pen. value is: the weapon's ability to cut through armor.

Also, Flak's bonus only applies to targets caught in the blast, not the primary target.

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ZillaPrime said:

Of note:

Removing TB from the damage soak and simply adding 2 to armour means that unarmoured combat is now LETHAL, even for unarmed brawls (1D5-3+SB) with no TB deduction is 1-5 LETHAL damage every punch, plus an automatic fatigue...

Second, you need to restat every hostile creature and encounter that is not a "scummer jumps you in the alley" type from now on....

Third, if you have any munchkins or number-crunchers at your table you will see a miracle of firepower emerge at your table called "Autogun with Manstopper ammo on full auto".  They are already borderline broken in effectiveness.  Remove TB and thicken armour by 2 and every thug will want this (reasonably cheap) loadout as it bypasses your added armour!

Sounds about right. Being hit repeatedly by strong guys could easily kill a man or end him in hospital with serious injuries. The fatigue only applies when the damage exceeds the TB BTW, and pretty much any armor on the hit location makes you impervious to unarmed combat.

Swords against unarmored people however will be nasty - taking down about anyone in 2 hits or in one lucky hit. Which again is fairly realistic.

But for me these changes is too much work, too many stats that needs to be modified to justify it.

 

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Friend of the Dork said:

Sounds about right. Being hit repeatedly by strong guys could easily kill a man or end him in hospital with serious injuries. The fatigue only applies when the damage exceeds the TB BTW, and pretty much any armor on the hit location makes you impervious to unarmed combat.

But that's not 'strong guys'. An average human deals 1d5 damage unarmed... without toughness bonus, that'll start causing Critical Damage on an average 11-wound NPC after very little time at all...

Friend of the Dork said:

Swords against unarmored people however will be nasty - taking down about anyone in 2 hits or in one lucky hit. Which again is fairly realistic.

Already possible (assuming Righteous Fury representing lucky hits). An average man wielding a sword against an average unarmoured man will cause 1d10 wounds with every hit he lands.

That's a noteworthy point here, that seems often overlooked in such matters. The weapon profiles are written with the assumption that Toughness Bonus applies, which leads to certain effects. Do you think it's a coincidence that Lasguns and Autoguns have a same static bonus to damage equal to the Toughness Bonus of the average human being?

A Lasgun hits an average, unarmoured human being, it will always remove 1d10 wounds - no chance of the shot simply doing no damage (remembering that damage in rules terms does not inherently equal damage in narrative terms - some injuries may be so inconsequential to an individual as to be not worth representing as lost wounds, and similarly some losses of wounds may represent the character's continual loss of stamina and endurance as they continue to avoid the worst of the attacks). That's not to be sniffed at - two or three of those will incapacitate most people, with armour and cover as far cheaper (but more easily overcome) methods of bolstering that inherent low-level resilience.

The other matter to consider is that creatures who are, by all rights, able to withstand injuries that would kill a human being (Orks, Space Marines, Carnosaurs) lose out here, the rules granting them no benefit for their supposedly inhuman resilience.

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A house rule I use is when a character takes more wounds from an attack than twice thir TB they are stunned for a turn. It doesn't make it any more dangerous (other than leaving you open to attack during next round) but does emphasis that powerful hit is dangerous even if it does not cause a crit.

If you really want to make it more dangerous, it probably better to reduce characters wounds by 4 (or even more). That will kill things quicker without changing the relative rate of damage.

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I've GMd about two of my group's 11+ short campaigns(we just started over the summer) and I never really felt like combat was deadly or engaging enough. Our group would just stand in place, shoot at the enemy, get shot and repeat until we won, all without saying anything. We were more akin to Necrons than Inquisitorial Acolytes.

Mind you, our group is very "light" on the rules; we don't take weight into account, we just kind of assume you can carry everything you need and function so long as it's reasonable. We don't make our campaigns ridiculously hard as our goal is to have fun with a setting we enjoy, not kill each other off in horribly sadistic ways, we don't use the Wounded system, etc.

Back on the subject, one thing that  doesn't make much sense to me that natural toughness would help you take no damage from being shot in the chest with what is essentially an armor piercing hollow point rocket propelled grenade launcher or even just a standard bullet. The mental image I get is some dude in armor getting shot in the gut and just standing there with no visible effect, and it's very silly to imagine that a bullet ripping through your body would do nothing because you just happen to be a beefcake.

I GMd our last game a week or so ago and made a few changes to see how my group would like it. When it comes to ranged combat, I made my players test toughness to resist the damage and if they failed, they only received half their bonus, ie Bob the Guardsman has 11 wounds and a toughness of 42, gets himself into combat with a Chaos cultist and is nailed in the shoulder with an autogun round for 9 damage. He tests toughness, rolls a 73 and fails, so he only gets a toughness bonus of 2 rather than his full 4.

I also used this system for armor. During the summer one of our main GMs commented that "it doesn't make sense that armor would stay intact forever." He wanted to use some kind of durability system that never was put into play for armor to fall apart as it took damage. Instead of using that, I simply made the PCs test armor like they do toughness to represent if the armor holds up. This is a little more complex, as you need to take the quality of the armor and the protection it gives into account. I used the armor's points with a zero on the end, then a -5.  IE Bob the Guardsman is shot and fails his toughness bonus. He is wearing enforcer carapace on his arm/chest, and rolls for his armor. Enforcer Carapace gives 5 armor, so he must make a roll of 45 to see if his armor holds. He rolls and once again fails, meaning his armor will only give him a protection of 2 since I make them round down, as 40k is very grimdark and unfair. Bob takes 5 damage, reducing his wounds to 6.

Our group found this to be a very interesting and welcome approach to combat. It makes ranged combat seem a bit more dangerous than before and cover is now a much more important factor into how combat plays out.

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This is the way I've always read the rules of Armor/TB

 

Armor is exactly as it sounds. It's what ever your wearing's ability to stop a bullet/blade/shuriken/knife/badhorribleclawthing, whereas TB is the human body's defense against instantanous damage (over the Toughness check for boozing/hitting the needle).

Realistically, this makes sense, because the human body, so long as it's not blowing one's brains out, or taking out the heart (off hand), can take a LOT of punishment before finally shutting down. Taking away the TB from damage modification is basically saying the same thing as "Oh, your body totally can't take this guy's punch, no matter how tough you are." Or "Your body is gonna shut down cause the stub auto round clipped your elbow, cause you have no internal shock protection."

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I understand the point of the toughness bonus as a means to minimize damage, but in terms of it helping you avoid damage from a bullet altogether, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I would see the armor as the means to avoid damage from the round, but once it goes through and into you, no matter how tough you really are it WILL hurt.

I attempted to show this by making them roll for just how much it hurts, but I see a lot of other possibilities like the aforementioned "if damage exceeds ___, player is stunned/knocked down/otherwise useless." I've been milling about my own version of this in an attempt to inject a small bit of realism into the game where if the player takes x amount of damage at once, they must make a willpower/toughness check to avoid just falling over screaming like a girl from sheer pain.

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I've also had some experience with ridiulous situations with TB damage soaking, to the point where smaller pistols can barely scratch the skin of certain people unless they roll righteous furies. For instance, take some of the compact and easily concealable "assassins weapons" that do not use poison and then look at their damage and Pen value, and then ask yourself: how is this thing supposed to KILL even an unarmoured victim? Sure they might cause a few wounds, but isn't the point of an easily concealable zip gun, made for assassins, to be able to kill in one shot?

To be fair though, I've mostly found that completely removing TB damage soak would make the game a bit too ridiculous as well (when it comes to certain large monsters who rely heavily on high toughness to soak up damage, instead of natural armour for instance).

It seems to me that the solution would be, not to grant characters a damage soak equal to their TB, but rather that the damage soak should be based on some sort of calculated table. Sort of like this:

 

TB                    Damage Soak

1                                X

2                                Y

3                                Z

 

...And so on. Where the lower end of Toughness Bonus don't provide any damage soak at all, but the higher ends and where Unnatural Toughness comes into play provide a really meaty damage soak (mostly intended for monstrous creatures and such).

The trick is, how do you calculate and create a fair and reasonable table based on these facts and figures?

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Artemesia said:

I understand the point of the toughness bonus as a means to minimize damage, but in terms of it helping you avoid damage from a bullet altogether, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I would see the armor as the means to avoid damage from the round, but once it goes through and into you, no matter how tough you really are it WILL hurt.

I attempted to show this by making them roll for just how much it hurts, but I see a lot of other possibilities like the aforementioned "if damage exceeds ___, player is stunned/knocked down/otherwise useless." I've been milling about my own version of this in an attempt to inject a small bit of realism into the game where if the player takes x amount of damage at once, they must make a willpower/toughness check to avoid just falling over screaming like a girl from sheer pain.

 

The problem with Stun/Unco is that a PC who is EITHER of these in any sort of mass battle/important battle situation is probably soon to be very, very, very dead unless they have an arse ton of armor on them. Which WON'T help with power weapons.

 

Meaning a mook with a power blade, with a few lucky swings, can not only render a PC helpless, but totally destroy him. Granted, this is true normally, but this also makes power weapons the DEFACTO melee weapon, and fairly over powered.

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Kylen said:

Granted, this is true normally, but this also makes power weapons the DEFACTO melee weapon, and fairly over powered.

Which is also true normally. Take a look at pretty much every fluff source there is. It's blatantly obvious that power weapons is "teh ****" when it comes o close combat. And when you think about it, it is a pretty nifty piece of technology. I mean, it does incorporates a power source small enough to be easily portable yet it is powerful enough to create a forcefield powerful enough to slice/burst through most known materials with ease.

I don't find it particularly strange that other melee weapons have a hard time competing with that. Power weapons are to the 40K setting as what "magic swords" are for most fantasy settings.

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