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Covered in Weasels

Melee weapon balance issues

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This thread is a continuation of the discussion in the Blademaster thread, where forum members expressed concern that the talent only affected bladed weapons. The most popular fix seemed to be:

  • A "Weapon Master" talent that granted re-rolls to all melee attacks
  • A "Bludgeon Master" talent analogous to Blademaster that allowed attacks made with blunt weapons to be re-rolled

However, the melee weapon imbalances are not confined to the Blademaster talent. There are some imbalances within the weapon statistics themselves..

 

Swords are significantly stronger than other one-handed Low-Tech weapons. The knife, truncheon and whip have less damage output AND don't grant a bonus to Parry checks. The shield has its uses, but attacking is not one of them. The warhammer seems like a fair alternative to the sword at first glance. When the Mono upgrade is applied to both weapons, the warhammer deals more damage and penetrates armor better but lacks the Balanced quality... and then we see that the warhammer requires two hands to use. What? It doesn't deal nearly as much damage as a great weapon, and it weighs significantly less than other one-handed weapons (6kg chainsword, 13kg power fist).

 

Chainswords also outperform chainblades -- the only other one-handed Chain weapon -- in every possible way. The chainaxe seems like a good alternative (and inexplicably lacks Unbalanced despite weighing 13kg...) but, again, it is a two-handed weapon. Chainaxes don't even approach the destructive power of the eviscerator, the primary use of which seems to be carving your ex's car in half out of spite.

 

Power weapons are better, but the power axe again feels like it should be a one-handed weapon. The power sword is (finally) not objectively better than other one-handed weapons; the power maul gains Shocking and a less-lethal mode while losing Balanced, while the power fist can't parry at all but deals enough damage to shame a wrecking ball. The Omnissian axe is just flat-out better than the power axe, so if your character can get an Omnissian axe there is no reason to ever look at a power axe. As a one-handed weapon, the power axe would provide a happy medium between the handiness of the power maul/sword and sheer destructiveness of the power fist.

 

The force staff confuses me. It does not have the statistics of a Best quality Mono staff as suggested by the Force quality description, and also loses a normal staff's Balanced quality. The force sword statistics match the given description, though. I realize that if both weapons followed the listed rules precisely, they would be identical save the number of hands required to use them and the type of damage they deal. This is a little awkward, but IMO either the force weapon description or the weapon stats should be changed to maintain consistency.

 

To summarize my suggestions:

  • Make the warhammer and power axe one-handed weapons
  • Make the chainaxe one-handed, give it Unbalanced, and possibly reduce the weight (13kg is HEAVY)
  • Make changes to either the Force quality description or the force staff stat block so that the rules text matches the weapon's stats

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I think warhammer should go back to its DH1 form

Same profile,and +20 to stun tests. Made it useful in its own way.

And the one handed/two handed thing, Only War did it right where you could use a chain axe in one hand or two. It did more damage with two hands, but obviously took up your space

Edited by Felenis

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If axes have a penalty to parry, fine. That makes sense. But Unbalanced weapons can't be used for Lightning Attack, which seriously hurts a chainaxe user. Blademaster should not just be used for Balanced melee weapons; it should be available to all melee weapons. Gunslinger does not restrict its use based on what pistols you have, and Sidearm doesn't restrict for melee OR pistol. So why does Blademaster? What if you want to make a two-axe barbarian type? Why should swordsmen get all the fun?

 

13kg is also a lot, especially since a chainsword weighs less than half of that, but then again, a lot of weapons in Dark Heresy are ridiculously heavy. In Dark Heresy 1, a disposable missile launcher weighs 30kg, or 66 pounds. The real-life M72 LAW, which is also a single-shot disposable launcher, weighs 2.5kg, or just 5 pounds, by comparison. It was made because carrying a reusable launcher is often prohibitively heavy, so they designed a Lightweight Anti-tank Weapon (which is what LAW stands for) that a rifleman could easily carry in case they had the misfortune to run into an armored vehicle. If a disposable launcher weighs as much as a crew-served weapon, you may as well carry a reusable launcher instead.

Edited by Boss Gitsmasha

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I'm totally fine with some weapons being straight better then others. An Omnissian axe is the Techpriest special axe, it should be better then a regular power axe. Some weapons are the best.

(Another way influence sucks. Nothing separates weapon tiers now, there's no value of a better weapon beyond maybe a -10 modifier to aquire)

But everything should have variety. I loved inquisitors handbook, because it had so many different weapons. Sure some were straight better, but low level there was tons of room for customization and personalization.

I'm sort of hoping for a weapon generator in the first expansion book. Like you get a pool of points to spend, increasing RoF, special qualities, weight and everything else. The amount of upsides and downsides you spend is added up and you get an influence modifier to roll on. ( or a throne price please)

Like, take a handgun base, say +30

Add RoF S/3/7: -21

Minus 2kg: -5

Extended clip size: -10

Overheats (98-100): +10

Rolling on +4

I can dream...

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Hammer of the Emperor had the first steps towards that, but I find it's real weakness is not enough options, (I tried to convert a combat shotgun from a mag fed big bulky weapon into something more resembling the SPAS-12, it worked out with a little hand waving: -5 shots x2 as a drawback (normally just once, but I wanted the more realistic tube count of 8), +1 full reload as drawback (houseruled), -2 kg (normal), +10m barrel length (normal) and +reliable (houseruled), which made a pretty decent SPAS-12. But I find a lot of times the weapons are either OP or not useful, like Autogun with adding accurate and -5 shots to the clip, making it a cheap full auto sniper rifle, just add an extended mag) and and another autogun we rolled up was just useless.

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What were the drawbacks? -5 clip to a lasgun would be the most hilarious one :P It should ideally be a percentage, that way handcannons aren't so screwed (as well as pump shotguns for 2 quick examples), but high ammo cap guns like autoguns and lasguns don't suffer at all in return for what there is to gain.

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Two different profiles for weapons based on whether or not you use the weapons two-handed is an interesting idea, and axes seem like an appropriate weapon for that sort of ability. IMO, the difference should be fairly small, maybe a couple points of damage/pen extra for using the weapon two-handed.

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And adding/increasing concussive is another neat thing.

 

Basically, what weapons need is a balancing between the three main types of blunt, axe and sword.

 

Sword = Balanced, a defensive weapon without compromising on attack

 

Blunt = Sheer Blunt Force Trauma, concussive seems to fit

 

Axes = the mirror image of a sword, an offensive weapon, though not sure what else.

 

Edit: Great Weapons are one that can really benefit from a proven rule

Edited by Cymbel

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Axes seem like very aggressive weapons. If you use an axe, you are sacrificing your defensive capabilities for raw damage output, hence the Unbalanced rule. Axes can use Swift Attack and get in for a couple solid hits in one attack. Unfortunately, Lightning Attack is so good that swords end up outstripping axes in damage output at higher levels while still retaining their defensive advantage.

 

To make an Unbalanced weapon like an axe shine, we'll need to think of some strong melee options that don't rely too heavily on Finesse talents, as those tend to fit better with a swordsman's combat style. I can think of two possible ways to utilize an axe to the greatest possible effect:

  1. Use it with All Out Attack, Hammer Blow, and Devastating Assault to crush people in one strike. Inescapable Attack, Feinting, and [the talent that lets you spend Fate to make an attack unavoidable] all let you land that one telling blow, and if your opponent is Stunned you can finish them off easily on your next turn.
  2. Pair it with a shield to become quite the tanky melee fighter (only applicable if axes can be wielded one-handed). Use the Defensive shield to block bullets and close combat attacks while enjoying the high damage of the axe. This approach requires two weapons, so a MIU Interfaced weapon can provide your ranged firepower. Instead of an axe and shield combo, you could instead use an Omnissian axe and a Defensive utility mechadendrite for Parrying. This approach isn't quite as deadly as the first option, but it is much safer and requires little talent investment.

In both of these cases, the high-damage axe is a very solid choice, and it's even better than a sword in situation #1.

Edited by Covered in Weasels

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See, that's exactly my point. I'm fine with axes getting a penalty to parrying; what I'm NOT fine with is how they don't benefit from talents that swords do, such as Blademaster and Lightning Attack.

 

Axes do benefit from Blademaster because they are bladed weapons, but I can see why you don't like their inability to Lightning Attack. However, I feel that not every kind of weapon should benefit from every talent. In fact, I highly support the notion of each "type" of weapon having some kind of unique Talent to distinguish them.

 

Out of curiosity, has anyone built a melee-focused character who uses heavy melee weapons instead of Swift/Lightning Attack? I'm curious as to how they compare to the Cuisinart-on-legs dual-wielding types.

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I agree with much of what has been written here with those advocating a review of one and two handed weapons and the change to Blademaster.

 

Here are the changes I would make with an aim to keep things simple and as balanced as possible.

 

Changes to 1-handed weapons

Sword – Why is this weapon not primitive; add primitive.

Warhammer – Why does this weapon say it is a two hander in the description text when that is covered by greatweapons? Change warhammer to a one handed weapon and balance it with swords so it is a viable option.

Axe – Add 1 handed axe as a low tech weapon as it is not included in the rules. Balance it with swords and warhammer so it is a viable option.

 

Suggestion for stats

Swords – 1D10 dam – 0 pen – balanced, primitive

Warhammer – 1D10+2 dam – 0 pen – primitive

Axe – 1D10+1 dam, 1 pen – primitive

 

Changes to Great Weapons

Why has two handed sword been omitted from the description text, it also lacks the primitive quality for no reason that I can see.

I would go with the following rules which also would save some space as you would only need to amend the great weapon line and amend the descriptive text;

 

Great weapons add 1D10 dam and unbalanced to the base line weapon. In the case of two handed swords the balanced and unbalanced qualities cancel each other out so the weapon receives no bonus or penalty to parry.

 

This will give the following stats for great weapons

Sword great weapon – 2D10 dam – 0 pen – primitive

Warhammer great weapon – 2D10+2 dam – 0 pen – primitive, unbalanced

Axe great weapon – 2D10+1 dam – 1 pen – primitive, unbalanced

Edited by dava100

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I also think that once we have balanced and viable options for low tech melee weapons we will have a base to start reviewing where chain weapons should be. Why would anyone ever use a chainaxe?

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Math time!

 

WS40 S40 character with a chainsword or chainaxe vs. a target with AP6 TB3.

 

Average chainsword damage is 7.5 + 6 = 13.5 Pen 2 = 13.5 - AP4 - TB3 = 6.5

 

Average chainaxe damage is 7.5 + 8 = 15.5 Pen 2 = 15.5 - AP4 - TB3 = 8.5.

 

Chainsword attack is half-action aim + lightning attack.

 

Chainaxe attack is half-action aim + swift attack.

 

Chainsword hits 40% of the time. Mister Math says that its average wounds inflicted per round is 6.5.

 

Chainaxe hits 50% of the time. Mister Math says that its average wounds inflicted per round is 7.65.

 

**CONCLUSION: A chainaxe used with Swift Attack does more average wounds per round than a chainsword used with Lightning Attack**

 

(Note: this does not factor in target's ability to Evade; the chainsword also has a marginally greater chance of inflicting RF. So I would say the two attacks are actually about equivalent. Which is probably deliberate. :) )

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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Math time!

 

WS40 S40 character with a chainsword or chainaxe vs. a target with AP6 TB3.

 

Average chainsword damage is 7.5 + 6 = 13.5 Pen 2 = 13.5 - AP4 - TB3 = 6.5

 

Average chainaxe damage is 7.5 + 8 = 15.5 Pen 2 = 15.5 - AP4 - TB3 = 8.5.

 

Chainsword attack is half-action aim + lightning attack.

 

Chainaxe attack is half-action aim + swift attack.

 

Chainsword hits 40% of the time. Mister Math says that its average wounds inflicted per round is 6.5.

 

Chainaxe hits 50% of the time. Mister Math says that its average wounds inflicted per round is 7.65.

 

**CONCLUSION: A chainaxe used with Swift Attack does more average wounds per round than a chainsword used with Lightning Attack**

 

(Note: this does not factor in target's ability to Evade; the chainsword also has a marginally greater chance of inflicting RF. So I would say the two attacks are actually about equivalent. Which is probably deliberate. :) )

 

Thanks for the math! This is actually quite reassuring from a balance point of view. Though I must point out that when someone's weapon skill gets into the 50s, the sword will pull ahead in damage output because of increased DoS scaling off of Lightning Attacks.

 

However, axes are still inferior to swords in a couple other ways. They are Unbalanced instead of Balanced, and in the current RAW they are two-handed weapons. If the axes were one-handed, they would be a significantly better choice.

 

Axes do have their own advantages -- there are several situations where you cannot make Lightning Attacks (Charges and Disruptive blows come to mind), and in those cases the axe does have an advantage.

 

I think I'll houserule that axes only require one hand for now and see how it goes.

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Hmmm let me figure it out for a WS of 60.

 

Chainsword 13.65.

 

Chainaxe 13.6.

 

Almost exactly the same. Given that the chainsword will be more likely to do RF (because it has a higher chance of more hits = more dice = more 10s), it is marginally better.

 

Incidentally, the WS60 guy making an All-Out Attack with the chainaxe does an average of 7.65; if he has Furious Assault this goes up to 13.77 if I did the math right.

 

Also, the same guy dual-wielding chainswords with lightning attack (assuming Ambidextrous but not Blade Dancer) will do an average of 16.25, that is, 2.6 higher than using a single weapon. (Man, LAs are not nearly as overwhelming as people seem to think. That -10 really cuts things down.)

 

(None of this includes the minimum 1 damage per 1 DoS rule, which will benefit the axe more than the sword because it will get more DoS.)

 

 

.

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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**CONCLUSION: A chainaxe used with Swift Attack does more average wounds per round than a chainsword used with Lightning Attack**

 

(Note: this does not factor in target's ability to Evade; the chainsword also has a marginally greater chance of inflicting RF. So I would say the two attacks are actually about equivalent. Which is probably deliberate. :) )

The chainsword is a one handed weapon though so it would be reasonable to assume at high weapon skills that the user may have another weapon or defensive item in the other hand.

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**CONCLUSION: A chainaxe used with Swift Attack does more average wounds per round than a chainsword used with Lightning Attack**

 

(Note: this does not factor in target's ability to Evade; the chainsword also has a marginally greater chance of inflicting RF. So I would say the two attacks are actually about equivalent. Which is probably deliberate. :) )

The chainsword is a one handed weapon though so it would be reasonable to assume at high weapon skills that the user may have another weapon or defensive item in the other hand.

 

 

It depends entirely on what the character has spent his XP (real  or otherwise) on; 750xp for TWW means 750xp not spent on Crushing Blow, for instance. TWW + Ambidextrous + Bladedancer is 1750 xp, which could have gotten you Crushing Blow + +10 S + +5 WS.

 

BTW I figured out average damage for TWW LA chainswords up above in the post, buried somewhere. It actually doesn't really make a huge difference on terms of damage output.

 

(I am assuming XP costs from OW and BC, since I don't know what they cost in the Beta,)

Edited by bogi_khaosa

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