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Why is Toughness Bonus body-armour? Should it be changed?

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The changes to the distribution of multi-hit attacks and to Called Shot modifiers are a result of a few test combats we ran, so yeah, we've played with it a bit. But not enough.

 

We settled on 5 step wound charts mostly because we think we'll be able to keep them memorised, if we keep the effect elaboration creep under control (lol), but also because with the injury threshold values we've set, it's actually not that easy to inflict several wound steps on the body location with a single attack. So.. It's not as deadly as it may seem.

 

In fact, without the wound effects & just using the 5 steps of Wounds as HP, it's probably not too different from low rank OW combat in terms of deadliness. It's easier to damage actors, but it's more difficult to do high damage... As long as you stick with single-hit attacks.

 

And that would be the major weakness of the system as outlined above: multi-hit attacks are stupidly deadly, because if each hit can do damage in excess of DV, then each hit inflicts at least 1 wound step. So.. Heavy Bolters and the like are brutal.

 

Our preliminary fix is pooling the damage points done against a location (after soak) and treating them as a single hit to that location, regardless of the actual number of hits. My personal issue with that fix, is that it's very inelegant and feels at odds with the logic of the rest of the system. But it does seem to have the desired effect of making multi-hit attacks dangerous, but not ridiculously so.

 

I wish I had a copy of our WIP wound charts on hand, because I would love to hear what you guys think - especially if any of you would try it out. But I'll try posting them tomorrow.

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Our preliminary fix is pooling the damage points done against a location (after soak) and treating them as a single hit to that location, regardless of the actual number of hits. My personal issue with that fix, is that it's very inelegant and feels at odds with the logic of the rest of the system. But it does seem to have the desired effect of making multi-hit attacks dangerous, but not ridiculously so.

 

Hmmh, I'd say that actually sounds like a rather clever solution. The only real downside is that it'd all hit the same location, which feels a bit odd.

 

As an added benefit, this could optionally also be used to speed up combat, though - by not actually rolling damage for each bullet individually (which can drag out things a bit) but rather have any hit after the 1st just add X points of damage to the total.

It'd obviously necessitate expanding the profile of a lot of weapons in the game, but at the same time this could allow autofire to be tweaked into something less powerful but more attractive (greater to-hit chance but less damage than the current version). Maybe even make the BS bonus dependent on a gun's overall RoF so that such weapons feel less gimped and unrealistic as a high rate of fire currently just means more ammo waste. For example, you'd never have a chance to make full use of an autogun's 10 shots per attack, even if you unload the gun point-blank, with a laser sight, and happen to roll a 1.  :rolleyes:

I'd say these 10 bullets doing fewer damage than 10 single attacks is more fun and realistic than the high chance to miss.

 

.... ah, sorry for deviating from the original topic - it was just a thought sparked by your idea. That's what I like about discussions such as these, you never know what tapping other people's brain could inspire in your own.  :lol:

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At this rate, we should just remove wounds and apply every damage as a critical effect (with an expanded effect table if you are afraid from the high mortality rate). 

I have no practical experience with that system, but from the description it sounds as if that worked nicely in Inquisitor. There, Toughness basically served as a "buffer" between Criticals. If damage after armour is equal to or under your TB, you'd get 1 level of Critical Injury to that location. Damage up to twice your TB means 2 Crits, thrice your TB 3 Crits, and so on.

 

We have been playing with this system since we restarted our WH40k RPG sessions and it is fine. Mind-blowingly brutal, but fine  :D . The first time we played like this, one player had to roll up 6 characters and the party average was 3 dead characters/player... within the duration of two 10 hours long sessions. The system punishes thoughtless play and unprepared characters and nerfs specialized combat characters (because it is toys over boys, so one's abilities are seconded by the armor and weapon(s) he has). So far I definitely like it. I have a sketchy description of the actual workings somewhere around the 4th page of this topic if you are interested. But I can send you a detailed description too in PM if you want it. 

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Hmmh, I'd say that actually sounds like a rather clever solution. The only real downside is that it'd all hit the same location, which feels a bit odd.

You misunderstand. The idea is to tally all the Damage Points done against a Hit Location from a single Attack, before working out how many Wounds are inflicted.

So.. If, say, Anton the Autogunner manages to Hit Steve the Sieve 5 times with 1 Attack, 3 Hits to Steve's Body and 1 Hit to each of his Arms, Steve would still suffer Wounds to each Location, but the Damage Points from the 3 Hits to Steve's Body would be pooled before determining Wounds, so Steve wouldn't necessarily suffer 3 Wounds to his Body. He might just suffer 1, depending on his DV and Anton's damage rolls.

Like a complete idiot I forgot our Wound Charts again, but we're still working on them so it's perhaps not such a big deal.

We've separated the Hit Location roll from the BS/WS roll, because between three people and two bottles of wine, the probabilities just seemed a hell of a lot more complicated than rolling a pair of extra d0. It's not like they have to be rolled separately from the attack roll, if you have a decent variety of dice colours (I don't think I've met anyone playing these sorts of games with that particular problem since I was in 8th grade, many, many years ago).

We might up the Called Shot modifiers to -20 for legs, -30 for arms and -40 for head, but that's partly because our WIP Wound Charts makes it fairly easy to knock people off their feet and disarm them, and because out Head Injury Threshold makes headshots very, very dangerous.

We're still playing around with the System Shock idea: Actors have a System Shock Threshold, and if their total Wounds exceeds that Threshold they must roll a Toughness Test (with a -10 modifier for additional wounds) to avoid immediately falling Casualty (which right now means the Actor must crawl at half AB metres into the nearest cover and stay there - we'll likely add some kind of death countdown to that, but we haven't gotten around to it yet. Suggestions are welcome).

Anyway, I think the System Shock Threshold should be 3+TB. My partners in nerdery feels that's completely arbitrary and prefers TB*2. But I foresee some issues with very high TB Actors, and feel it skews too strongly in favour of high TB PCs in terms of PC staying power.

And really, the whole point of the mechanic is to avoid absurd Dead Space scenarios where the PCs have to focus-fire at some guy's limbs for half an hour before he drops. The point of lower Injury Threshold extremities is that attacking them specifically can offer a situational advantage. Shooting extremities shouldn't be the primary way to take out opponents.

 

As an added benefit, this could optionally also be used to speed up combat, though - by not actually rolling damage for each bullet individually (which can drag out things a bit) but rather have any hit after the 1st just add X points of damage to the total.

<Snippity-snip>

Maybe even make the BS bonus dependent on a gun's overall RoF so that such weapons feel less gimped and unrealistic as a high rate of fire currently just means more ammo waste.

I really like this idea, and tweaking weapon profiles isn't a big issue for us, at least not if we can come up with a consistent way of doing it. But we didn't get around to discussing it.

 

.... ah, sorry for deviating from the original topic - it was just a thought sparked by your idea. That's what I like about discussions such as these, you never know what tapping other people's brain could inspire in your own.  :lol:

Please, deviate away :P

You're actually to blame for us finally doing something about the injury mechanics. My entire group has hated the RAW mechanics for as long as we've been playing, and I've personally been hating them since WFRP1e. For the last.. Oh.. Year or so, we've been playing with critical hits only (a monumental time-sucking pain in the neck), simply because we couldn't be arsed to sit down and try to come up with a solution we actually liked.

 

But I can send you a detailed description too in PM if you want it.

If you wouldn't mind, I'd love if you just posted it here :)

 

Just glancing at this suggestion it looks an awful lot like the narrative damage from dh2 beta (Which failed). I like the idea but have yet to see a workable version.

But it isn't, in a couple of critical ways. Firstly there's no damage-stacking. Shooting a guy full of holes, whether by the mechanics I've posted or by AtoMaki's, doesn't mean that a subsequent attack will be any more or less devastating than if it'd been the first. Among the table-addicted fans of the 40K systems and it's predecessors, that was probably the biggest issue with the beta injury mechanics.

 

To the less table-addicted players like myself, having 9 fill pages of locational damage tables, with just about every entry on them having often more than one fairly elaborate mechanical effect, was just murder on the pace of the game. You could easily make me believe a group spent 6 hours fighting a single BBEG, with five of those hours spent looking stuff up.

It doesn't sound like AtoMaki's mechanics have that issue, and ours certainly don't. Our Wound Charts, whatever they end up like, will be designed specifically for easy memorisation & sufficiently simplistic effects to have no significant impact on the pace of the game.

 

Narrative damage isn't a recipe for fail in and of itself (as several other successful RPGs using it kind of proves, I'd think). The DH2 beta just took it to a weird and unplayable extreme.

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But I can send you a detailed description too in PM if you want it.

 

If you wouldn't mind, I'd love if you just posted it here :)

 

 

Okay, then here it is. Keep in mind that this system was built on the Dark Heresy Failed Beta rules. 

 

Damage Resistance:

Damage Resistance is a new "secondary characteristic" like Fatigue Threshold. For a normal human, its value is 3 + Toughness Bonus but certain backgrounds/roles might increase or decrease it by +/-1. A top-shaped human character maxed out to tank damage may have a Damage Resistance of 12 but getting more is virtually impossible. 

Of course, bigger and meaner things have much higher Damage resistance: for example an Ork character has a starting Damage Resistance of 10+TB (so usually 18). A Carnifex, on the other hand, has a Damage Resistance of ~50. 

Damage Resistance is a "straight" characteristic, so you will never test it with a D100 and you cannot increase it with XP directly (only by increasing your TB or taking a Talent). 

 

Protection Rating:

Protection Rating is a new attribute for the armors. It represent how "hard" the armor is and adds an additional layer of defense against the enemy attacks: it acts as a multiplier that increases the armor value after it was decreased by the attack's Penetration. Note that Penetration can't lower the Protection Rating of the armor.

For example, the humble Flak Armor has an Armor Value of Head 2 / Body 3 / Arms 3 / Legs 3 and a Protection Rating of 5. against a Penetration 0 attack, it will have Head 10 (2x5) / Body 15 (3x5) / Arms 15 / Legs 15 (Armor Value multiplied by the Protection Rating). Against a Penetration 2 attack, it will have Head 0 (0x5) / Body 5 (1x5) / Arms 5 / Legs 5. 

Certain armors (mostly the crude, low-tech ones) have low Armor Value but high Protection Rating, so they are more susceptible to Penetration (it is easier to reduce the armor to 0). Advanced armors have a high Armor Value but a low Protection Rating, so they will offer some defense even against relatively high-Penetration attacks. 

-- Armor Piercing weapons: Armor Piercing (X) is a new weapon quality that decreases the Protection Rating of the armor by X to a minimum of 1. So against a Penetration 0, Armor Piercing (2) attack, the Flak Armor would grant Head 6 (2x(5-2)) / Body 9 (3x(5-2)) / Arms 9 / Legs 9. Most Solid Projectile weapons could have this quality through armor piercing ammo (duh!) that gives Armor Piercing (1). 

 

Damage:

Damage is mostly unchanged, but it is significantly increased. Stuff does a lot of damage. Some example (per shot damage): 

- Autopistol: 2D10+2

- Autogun: 2D10+8

- Shotgun: 3D10

- Lasgun: 1D10+17

- Plasma Gun: 3D10+40

- Flamer: 4D10+4

- Autocannon: 6D10+10

- Chainsword: 2D10+(SBx3) (small note: all melee weapons have their own SB multipliers)

As a reference point for those who are familiar with the tabletop game: all weapons gained a maximum damage equal to their TT Strength x 10 (so a Plasma Gun with its TT Strength 7 can do ~70 points of maximum damage). 

"Solid" weapons (solid projectile, low-tech, bolt and most melee weapons) have lots of D10's for damage and little fixed damage. Energy weapons have lots of fixed damage but use only a few D10's. This is actually important because...

-- Critical Damage: This is what we have instead of Righteous Fury. Whenever you roll a natural 10 for damage, you can roll an additional D10 and add it to the damage total. You can do this until you roll 10's, so if you roll 6 10's with your autocannon, then you will cause 70 points damage +6xD10 points of extra damage. If any of those extra D10's turn out to be 10's then you gain +1D10 damage after all of them, and it goes on until you are out of luck and 10's.

 

Penetration still works the same. Armor Values and Penetrations were both increased slightly, for example a Plasma Gun has Pen 14.

 

Taking Damage:

Whenever the character takes damage, he first reduces it by the armor value total (armor value multiplied by the protection rating) then further reduces it by his Damage Reduction. Once the damage passes through the armor value total, it can't be reduced below 1 with the character's Damage Resistance.

The damage that remained after the armor/DR reduction is the number of Wounds the character will suffer. Each Wound has a nice Wound Effect (see the DH Beta wound effect tables), and once the character takes the Wounds, he must also apply the Wound Effect of that amount of Wounds.

For example a Human (DR6) character wearing reinforced clothes (AV3, PR 2) takes 23 points of damage from a lasgun. He first reduces the damage with his armor value total (3x2=6) to 17 then with his Damage Resistance to 11. The character suffers 11 Wounds and the number 11 Energy Wound Effect. 

Wounds stack, so if the character above takes 6 more wounds from the next attack, then he will be at 17 Wounds and he will suffer the number 17 Wound Effect. 

Note that the 26+ Wound Effects are all lethal. So once you have 26+ Wounds, you die, unless you have True Grit that lowers the Wound Effect by your TB (but not the number of Wounds). 

 

Second Wind/Just a Flesh Wound:

At the end of the combat encounter, all characters remove a number of Wounds equal to their Damage Resistance. This only affects the number of Wounds - ongoing Wound Effects are unaffected. 

 

Toys over Boys:

Remember, that even though it could be quite scary at first glance (the basic lasgun can take you out with one shot), small arms fire are usually negated by your armor (if you wear flak armor, you will take a meager 1 Wound from an average lasgun hit). It is Toys over Boys: you can be the most dangerous killing machine in the sector but a puny civilian with a plasma gun can one-shot you - conversely, if you happen to be a non-combat character, you can still shine in battle provided that you have good equipment. 

 

 

And I guess that's all.

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Multi-hit attacks can overcome soak pretty easily if you add +1 damage per hit that lands.  I think that's perfectly fair for people who don't like toughness.

 

It makes Swift/Lightning Attack with a knife pretty deadly, and Fluid Action on your Las gun seems good.

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In terms of simplicity, the easiest change would probably be to eliminate TB as it currently is (but allow it to soak non-lethal damage, and perhaps other environmental damage), and allow it to grant bonus wounds.  That's in keeping with most hit point designed game systems.

 

To compensate, the AP of various existing armor should be increased.  The average increase should probably be 1-3 AP at the low end, and up to 5 AP or more for power armor and the like at the high end.  It would also allow the expansion of the existing armor and armor mods, which is rather sparse.

 

It would not be too much of a challenge to create new types of armor, calling it Light Flak, Heavy Carapace, etc. to match these adjusted values.  Creating new mods such a Mesh Underlays or Extra Plating would allow players to further customize their armor, and help give hit location more of a purpose for existence.  At least in my group, hit locations rarely matter until its time to deal critical damage since most have adopted a full suit of whatever best armor they can acquire and just left it at that.

 

I think that would cause the least amount of mechanical impact, while still adding worthwhile content to the game and addressing some of the surreal situations that arise from skin-armor.  Just my 2 thrones on the matter.

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Right,, so remove TB and replace it with a system that does exactly the same thing, but has a different explanation? Ahaha!

 

no TB, lots of wounds..high AR values

TB, low wounds, low AR values

 

None of you are suggesting a new ground breaking way of dealing with damage, you just want to replace a system chosen for this line of games, with a bastardized hybrid from several other games.

 

So what is the point?

 

Sure some classes can be nearly immune to low powered weaponry....but that is what high powered weaponry is for, and it is not like the WH40k RPGs are lacking in the armoury departments.

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First of all, the tone of your posts does you no favors. 

 

My fix was a suggestion targetted purely towards fixing the "skin armor" effect of current TB mechanics.  It seems as though the most common problem people have with the current system is naked marines (or similar max TB characters) who are essentially bullet proof.  This fix shifts resistance onto character gear, rather than a character stat.

 

It was not an attempt to re-invent the wheel by introducing a completely new system to deal with damage.  Adopting a new damage/resistance mechanic would involve a lot of reworking of existing material.  Adopting different damage dice has an effect on how Righteous Fury functions, etc. 

 

This change is fairly minor, keeps the current functional mechanics largely intact and helps reduce those instances of naked people shrugging off bullets or chain sword strikes.

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As I have pointed out before: Simply removing TB (Without ANY other adjustments) would not hurt the system or break the mechanic. If you really want to be technical, The SM would get an additional 2 points of armor from the Black carapace. That's it! There is no need for higher armor values, Better weapon damage or whatever. In TT Space marines are NOT immune to lasgun damage so why should they be here? The other good thing is that this fix is easily backfitted across the other systems without a whole bunch of rewriting. If you are using a Narrative system like DH2 beta suggested than the TB body armor effect is appropriate. If you're not than just drop it entirely! This is hardly groundbreaking. It's just simple and it would work!

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While I agree that just removing the TB damage soak is viable and a minimum fuss solution, it also does increase the lethality of the system substantially at all levels of play.  The change is so serious that not everyone might be comfortable or desirous of such a drastic change.  Personally, I do not mind this all that much as I strongly feel that using cover and equipment is a much better way to simulate combat conditions than the current system.

 

I am not saying my suggestion is superior, or even that it is the change that I would endorse in order to "fix" the system.  Personally I feel that the d100 system used by DH/OW has far more serious flaws.  I am just putting it out there as a fairly minor adjustment that could be put into play with a minimum of fuss, and still maintain the relative balance currently in the game.

 

I would probably enact a small adjustment alongside this change to the Armor Penetration stat.  Specifically, rather than a numeric reduction (and thus making it just another way to write +1 damage), I would instead allow weapons with high Armor Penetration values to have a type rather than a numeric value.  Thus, Plasma would be AP:  Carapace/Power for example, but have no real effect on lighter armors such as flak or mesh.  Using a Penetrating weapon against its ideal type would also not reduce armor value, but rather allow the weapon to obtain Righteous Fury on a 9 or 10, to simulate its increased chance to breach the armor.

 

One concern I do have about this change (or just the flat removal of TB in its current state) is the rather sudden drop in value of one of the attributes.  In the case of flat removal of TB, I would probably opt to remove the attribute entirely and roll its current other functions into Strength (resisting fatigue, poisons, etc).

Edited by Bladehate

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With regards to that commander from near the start of the thread who supposedly had 90+ Toughness, if it weren't for when those posts were made I'd have suspected the GM for this game was stupid enough to allow the Hammer of the Emperor RAW about gaining free +5s to characteristics if you don't take an advanced specialisation to stand unmodified. As it stands I can only imagine that something went seriously astray with the maths being done over there...

Anyways, I know this isn't going to sound very grimdark, but I just thought I'd quickly point out one particular trope that goes a long way not only to explaining humans who can heavily blunt incoming autogun fire on the back of their TB alone, but virtually all the patently ridiculous things a cleverly built Only War character can do in general...
 
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharlesAtlasSuperpower

 

Granted, this isn't exactly realistic, but breathing "Warhammer 40K" and "realism" in the same sentence is a recipe for frustration and disaster at the very outset. By my estimation, if you're a normal human, having Charles Atlas Superpowers is virtually a requirement to become highly successful in the mould of Creed, Cain, Straken, Marbo or countless others, and, more importantly, to actually survive such an ascension to fame and success. After all, for every Sly Marbo there are thousands of others who died trying to be that badass...

 

From a narrative standpoint, in many stories there comes a point where the heroes, especially ones with CASPs, start to find themselves largely unthreatened by the mooks of the opposition (and indeed, it's worth noting that at the end of the day, only mooks will find themselves stonewalled by high TB characters). Having an extremely high TB is simply one way of representing this numerically. Having a ridiculously high Agility, +30 Dodge and Step Aside would be another. From a fluff standpoint, it's the same thing... the hero is so badass that the mooks simply fail, for whatever reason, to do any damage when they engage him. This can represent everything from the character being able to dodge just enough that attacks that "hit" within the in-game mechanics only grazed him, to the big badass being so intimidating to look at or having such a reputation that it throws off the attackers' aim. If Wounds/HPs can represent luck, skill, and a hundred other things that help prevent the taking of lethal wounds, why can TB not also?
 
So yeah, I feel that absolute realism is unnecessary and from a narrative point of view, high level heroes being able to shrug off the attacks of mooks in whatever way they do so is perfectly fine. That's just my view. :3

Edited by CaptainTrek

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[nitpick]Why do we have this perceived need for a website collecting "tropes" when everyone here already knows what something means from elsewhere?  -_-[/nitpick]

 

Anyways ... I don't think anyone is argueing for absolute realism, but for a lot of people, a certain sense of vulnerability goes a very long way in keeping things interesting, and the awesome and terrifying weaponry of the 41st Millennium essentially being castrated in favour of allowing comicbook-like bullet sponges just doesn't feel right for everyone - especially once it starts to nullify a lot of the background that said players are used to from past experience with the franchise in general.

 

In short, it's a matter of preferences - and of interpretation. What exactly do we as gamers see in Wh40k? Do we focus on epic feats of superheroism for the sake of heroism itself, or do we instead see a gritty, violent and terrifying universe where it'd really suck to live in, but which makes the defiant actions of its people all the more outstanding?

 

Even with movie heroes, it tends to be that they are just not hit at all because for some reason the Iraqi soldiers, the Imperial Stormtroopers, the SS officers and the Orc archers always miss the protagonist - rather than the hero being pumped full of bullets and arrows without caring for it. Don't you think the MarboRambo movies would be a lot worse if Stallone's character would simply not care about being hit, rather than having us on the edge of our couch because he's so **** lucky to not get hit in the first place?  ;)

 

And this is the important difference for me ... because just being **** lucky is a lot more believable than being nigh-invulnerable, or even "just" taking ten clips of bullets in the chest before finally going down on one knee.

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One thing MIGHT be player time investment. I don't know for others, but I don't always like taking all the time to make choices and build something I currently think I'll like just to get aced by some lame baddy, or just as likely, the poor choices/effectiveness of another player. And let's be honest, in the franchise EVERYTHING kills Imperial Guard. If I trip getting up to go fetch a Livewire from my fridge, right now, the force of the impact and my cuss will bleed into the universe of 40K, and at least one, if not two Guardsmen will die. Lucky for them, I already have a Livewire and need not get up. When I play D&D, this is sometimes my one biggest detractor against playing a wizard. I am one of the most experienced gamers I know, in my own group, at least, and have been steadily gaming for over a decade (this is likely a lot less than some of you; I'm just going for context). Many of my fellow players are novices or newbs, and don't want to wrap their heads around the mechanics of spells and managing them, but that also means that teamwork can be lost on them. In early levels, I can use my best spell twice a day, where they can swing their weapon all day, and my health is laughable. It is in moments like this that I would enjoy that extra little cushion. Saga for Star Wars did so, and I appreciated it greatly. If it's too easy to die, even if it is fitting with the material, you and your friends might not invest in their books, and go find something more long-term to play, especially when OW is certainly more combat-driven; Guardsmen fight wars, and they do it with combat. Even if you COULD talk to your enemy, and get them not to fight, how many of them are you allowed to let live (neither Xenos nor Heretic), meaning it was mostly just a ruse to get into a better FIGHTING situation.

So yeah, as a nice little cushion for newbs to live to see how it's done, and the more learned to survive their mistakes, I appreciate it. I suppose I can see where some people don't appreciate it, but I've never been one to really mind a little extra life expectancy. I build my characters in-depth, and often get a bit attached to them. Some of them even get fiction in their franchise written by me, so I feel, perhaps unnecessarily, that I have a certain investment in them, one I'd rather not forfeit, having to write up a whole new toon, since making Bob, having him die, and then making Bob II (Bob II has red hair, while Bob had brown) is often to be frowned upon. I've never built a starting toon, surrounded by my friends I'd probably also talk to, so I don't know how long it really takes to make an OW character, but he's not as easy as getting another Pawn, er Comrade. Besides, with the meatgrinder GM's I've often played under, and blessedly am not, that little extra life, nerfing a few guns, here and there, will barely hold back the breath of doom, with pitfall traps, AoE surprises, and their other "GM specials". All it will do is say I don't die from a flimsy lasgun, amybe, but something a bit more "flashy" (heh, pun).

So yeah, my reasoning is entirely selfish, and based a bit on mechanical reasoning not directly part of "does this make it a good game?", but I do know that I favor it, since I've grown up with IG being born to die (their greatest battlefield strength often is they have enough to take hits, and STILL hold the objective, since many TT games are on a time limit that real battles don't possess), and appreciate that MY Guardsman, whom I might've spent a good week planning, and a whole evening building, doesn't just die from some random oops. Again, your mileage may vary.

Edited by venkelos

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personal investment

I certainly agree with this. Unfortunately for me, there is rather a distinct lack of local GMs here; I've been DMing/GMing since the mid 80s, and the few opportunities I've had to participate as a Player have been very few but lengthy games (over a year playing through the Temple of Elemental Evil in 1984 and a home-brew campaign for most of 1996). These games were definitely situations where personal investment/attachment to a PC would have benefited from an in-built survivability mechanic like TB soak- we had a rough go with the ToEE. Our entire play group collectively must've gone through three dozen starting characters, and I can confidently say it is very difficult to continue producing unique PCs with a mortality rate that high. TB as soak does lend itself quite handily to lowering PC mortality rates.

All that being said, I do not care for or use the TB soak mechanic.

There are plenty of other things Players can use to decrease the mortality rates of the PCs. Cover is probably the single biggest tool in surviving ranged attacks (more advantageous than Dodge). In short, I would rather my Players play "smart" than play to the TB soak mechanic. And when playing smart, Players are far more likely to immerse themselves in the game and describe their own struggles, failings, and heroics, and this makes for a better game (IMO).

I run a fairly lethal game, and my Players realize the consequences of poor decisions. There are times when things simply take them by surprise or situations deteriorate beyond their abilities to cope, and that's when the flies start dropping, but (AFAICT) my Players enjoy the game, and this even after we deleted TB soak. IMO, the Players have stepped up their "A" games since doing so.

Edited by Brother Orpheo

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I can see that. I suppose I might have a smidge of the reverse; I shortage of good players. Many of my gaming friends just screw around, and can't get it into their heads to immerse themselves. When things go bad, they might be quick to blame the system, and quit playing, rather than accept their own failings, and with only so many PC options, that can end my gaming, in general. A friend of mine runs a fairly death's doorstep D&D game, right now, where we fight the undead for a church many of us don't like, peopled by Paladins who are also Puritan Inquisitors from 40K, for how they are about their rules. The endless war makes items cost more, and he is so terrified that the players have seen a Monster Manual that he pulls some exotic things out of it, and then amps them up, sometimes unnecessarily, just so we (I'm the only one this experienced) can't metagame. It can be fun, and we don't die (sometimes we have to complain he didn't take somethings into account to prevent it, of course), but it can just seem ungodly hard, for no real reason, and make us question why we still play it. on the plus side, he is good with giving XP, so we can level relatively fast-ish.

 

On cover, that wholly depends on setting. While every fight can't be the field of Thermopolee (300 place, just to clarify), nothing says there is ALWAYS good crap to duck behind, and some of that could arguably be leveled, rather easily. If it's not a movie-car door, it also might not stop whatever (thankfully, I assume OW doesn't care, and all cover is Adamantium, if you are behind it.

 

As an extra, yeah, I played in an Epic 3.0 variant of ToEE, and it was an unnecessary beast, even by epic rules. I won't bore you with details, but beyond one insulting, irritating, and douchebagtastic player we couldn't shut up, Lvl 24 Fighter Half-Fire Elemental Trolls equipped with Amulets of Acid Immunity are an unnecessary hurdle in any game.

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No-one is argueing for one-shot kills. :)

 

In my opinion, the system already allows for the learning curve you were referring to by having both powerful body armour (even basic flak already shaves off about a third of the average lasgun damage), and even if we'd dismiss Wounds/hitpoints and TB entirely (which we do not need to) the remaining damage would merely cause an injury to a single location, but not slay an uninjured character outright.

 

And even then, if we assume that a character actually "dies" rather than being dragged into safety and patched up ... I thought that's what burning Fate Points (another user even called them "Learning Points") is for?

 

I find it odd that so many people like Dark Heresy for being the "low power scrub game", and Only War for being so gritty in its replication of the bloody battles of the Imperial Guard, but as soon as it comes to combat being lethal, a lot of people are suddenly afraid people might actually die because they're not wearing power armour.

 

tl;dr: I don't want player characters being one-hit-kills. But I also do not want said characters not caring for being hit because the combination of AP and TB makes the powerful weapons of WH40k feel like inconvenient bee stings, if at all. I vote for the golden medium. ;)

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In support of Lynata:

 

Your average starting Infantry character starts with 10 hp and wears guardsman flak AV 4 (All). A Lasgun does 1d10+3 damage as does an autogun and most other low level weapons are in the same league. Thus, a max power hit will only do 13-4= 9 wounds (Plus possible crit). It can plainly be seen that this will not kill a newly generated character. Even the Critical if it happens will not be fatal when only rolling 1d5 on the crit chart. If the party was smart enough to bring a medic a good deal of this damage can be mitigated! Again, no problem w/o toughness soak.

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I would say, if the player doesn't invest anything into the survival of his character, then he must die. The system should favor smart players who doesn't run brainlessly into combat and penalize those who do (and yes, I think that this penalty should be death). If it means that a plasma gun can kill a character with a single hit, without even rolling for damage, then so be it. 

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In support of Lynata:

 

Your average starting Infantry character starts with 10 hp and wears guardsman flak AV 4 (All). A Lasgun does 1d10+3 damage as does an autogun and most other low level weapons are in the same league. Thus, a max power hit will only do 13-4= 9 wounds (Plus possible crit). It can plainly be seen that this will not kill a newly generated character. Even the Critical if it happens will not be fatal when only rolling 1d5 on the crit chart. If the party was smart enough to bring a medic a good deal of this damage can be mitigated! Again, no problem w/o toughness soak.

 

Well the Guardsman is wearing flak armour, which is supposed to protect against this kind of stuff.

 

A 5 on the energy Crit chart is likely to be fatal, albeit not immediately. So it is possible but unlikely (one-hit instadeath is impossible, but really those are pretty unusual in real life from small arms).

 

Anyway this is an issue with every RPG system (that I know of) that does not want players dying from low-level weapons left and right. Even Call of Cthulhu.

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tl;dr: I don't want player characters being one-hit-kills. But I also do not want said characters not caring for being hit because the combination of AP and TB makes the powerful weapons of WH40k feel like inconvenient bee stings, if at all. I vote for the golden medium. ;)

 

This is where I am again baffled.

 

What characters, and what powerful weapons? What bee stings?

 

Max possible Only War non-Ogryn Toughness Bonus is 6 (leaving out Hammer shenangigens about infinite +5 bonuises that does not seem to be RAI).. Max AP is 6 (realistically -- heavy carapace). We can hypothetically give the character Armour-Monger and make it 8. OK, Best-Quality armour, so 9. That's actually better than Space Marine power armour everywhere but the body location.

 

(I'm looking at BC weapons stats since OW is not handy; I don't think they differ much.)

 

That's 6 + 9 = 15. A bolter on average does (correct me if my math is wrong) 7.5 damage due to Tearing + 5 = 12.5 - 5 for AP - 6 for TB = 1.5 Wounds. Max damage is 15 - 11 = 4. That is not a bee sting. Three shots (one semi-auto burst) is 4.5 wounds average, enough to take a non-wounds-winmaxed character down about 1/3, + there is about a 50% chance of RF having gone off. Especially considering it is going through Armour-Mongered Best-Quality Carapace and a character with maximum possible Toughness, a veritable legend among men who is also wearing pretty incredible armour.

 

A plasma gun on maximal will do 19 - AP0 - TB6 = 13, maximum 28 - 6 = 22. That is not a bee sting. Max possible non-Ogryn Wounds in Only War is I think 21 (which BTW takes a very high initial Toughness and huge XP expenditure, especially since you got armour-mounger on top of it). The things have a RoF of 2 by the way. Average OW Wounds in my experience are more like 10 with TB3. 19 - 3 = 16 - 10 = -6 Crit.

 

Max Orgyn Wounds is I think 30-something, but they do have 3 Wounds in TT. :)

 

EDIT: Just one other point. I get a feeling in these discussions that people are under the misapprehension that every hit is a solid hit (you see this often in headshot discussions). Most hits are not solid, direct hits striking a vital organ. They graze. They lodge in the body without anything important (which may cause infection and  death later, but don't matter immediately.) Hey that's an idea for making OW REALLY deadly, gritty, and grimdark -- add infection rules! Like really slow Blood Loss. Now 90% of your characters will be dying from post-wound infections. Fun.)

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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This is where I am again baffled.

 

Don't be. We already know where each of us stands on this subject. :)

 

 

That's 6 + 9 = 15. A bolter on average does (correct me if my math is wrong) 7.5 damage due to Tearing + 5 = 12.5 - 5 for AP - 6 for TB = 1.5 Wounds. Max damage is 15 - 11 = 4. That is not a bee sting. Three shots (one semi-auto burst) is 4.5 wounds average, enough to take a non-wounds-winmaxed character down about 1/3, + there is about a 50% chance of RF having gone off.

 

Considering we are talking about miniature missiles that explode inside your body, a "bee sting" is quite an apt comparison.

 

Also consider that I have just said that we do not have to remove Wounds or TB entirely. My issue is that TB works better than armour, and that it is quite able to stop a lot of weapons from having any effect on the target. There is a reason for why I have picked the lasgun as example, you know? Because I do not want such an iconic gun to become a worthless BB shooter and, apparently unlike you, have an "issue" with AP+TB being so effective at neutering it.

 

That you immediately jump to burst-firing boltguns (with 100% accuracy of course) and plasma weapons on Maximal setting to defend your argument just shows me that we are talking past each other and have completely polar expectations from these games.

 

You already know what I would like to see - putting TB as a buffer in-between Crit levels a la Inquisitor - so why are you argueing against something completely different?

 

 

Just one other point. I get a feeling in these discussions that people are under the misapprehension that every hit is a solid hit (you see this often in headshot discussions). Most hits are not solid, direct hits striking a vital organ. They graze. They lodge in the body without anything important (which may cause infection and  death later, but don't matter immediately.) 

 

And that's why you still roll a d10 for damage rather than applying a fixed amount of damage after a hit.

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That's 6 + 9 = 15. A bolter on average does (correct me if my math is wrong) 7.5 damage due to Tearing + 5 = 12.5 - 5 for AP - 6 for TB = 1.5 Wounds. Max damage is 15 - 11 = 4. That is not a bee sting. Three shots (one semi-auto burst) is 4.5 wounds average, enough to take a non-wounds-winmaxed character down about 1/3, + there is about a 50% chance of RF having gone off.

Considering we are talking about miniature missiles that explode inside your body, a "bee sting" is quite an apt comparison.

 

Also consider that I have just said that we do not have to remove Wounds or TB entirely. My issue is that TB works better than armour, and that it is quite able to stop a lot of weapons from having any effect on the target. There is a reason for why I have picked the lasgun as example, you know? Because I do not want such an iconic gun to become a worthless BB shooter and, apparently unlike you, have an "issue" with AP+TB being so effective at neutering it.

 

But what would be simpler than simply removing it? We both agree that the system should be potentially (Even if unlikely) fatal even with your humble lasgun! My point is that way is simple and in no way breaks the system! :)  

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