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Warhammer 40k RPGs, what's wrong with them?
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

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2 years of playing almost weekly and my players never got the hang of combat. It was always clunky as hell.


Dark Heresy combat is definitely extremely clunky, but part of this is probably just your players. In my experience it does indeed take two or three months of consistent weekly play before people get any kind of system mastery, and that is atrocious, but it does actually happen. There are people who can't grasp the idea of adding their MAB to a melee attack after six months of playing D&D, and the problem with that is not that "to-hit rolls are d20+MAB" is extremely complex, it's that the player isn't putting forth any effort to learn the system.

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Your characters are just random schmucks recruited to serve as expendable pawns or deal with low-priority shit, and whatever the Inquisitor who pressed you into service does, he's probably nowhere near your party. You can easily be gunned down by random thugs. To play an actual Inquisitor, and generally be a badass (without using psyker powers to break the system), you need to use a special supplement that adds enough extra complexity to the game to essentially make it uplayable.


I'm okay with Dark Heresy following the trajectory that you start as a mostly random schmuck and level up to become a hardened Inquisitorial agent. DH1 did not deliver on that premise, but DH2 did so as far as is possible within the constraints of the d100 system. The rules for becoming an Inquisitor are core in DH2.

Quote:
I think the game could have benefited from making different rules for combat for the games that focused on larger combat (Only War, Deathwatch), and kept the more complex rules for the more combat-lite games (Black Crusade, Rogue Trader, Dark Heresy).


I really intensely despise the lack of consistency between different game lines. It requires way too much conversion for a Deathwatch space marine to go rogue and become a Black Crusade character, or for an Imperial Guardsman in an Only War campaign to migrate to Dark Heresy, where Imperial Guardsmen are also supported characters (Only War to DH2 transitions really well, and they both transition moderately well to Black Crusade, which is nice). Plus, while Black Crusade does have a lot of sneaky cult stuff that it gets up to, it is in fact named after massive invasions of entire sectors (or more) of Imperial space, so that splat in particular very much needs to do large combats well despite the vast majority of its combats being a party of 3-6 versus like eight dudes.

Quote:
Any thoughts on how the Influence/PF/Infamy system was implemented?


Having it be a 0-100 characteristic like the others is a good idea for consistency's sake (although having the others be on that scale is a bad idea for reasons discussed above, but in fairness to FFG Rogue Trader was their last chance to walk away from the d100 roll-under system without serious damage to their brand). Having you actually roll that characteristic to get stuff is easily the thing I have most frequently seen complained about. Really, this is just an extension of the fact that d100 is a really swingy and unpredictable resolution mechanic, but people actually seem to immediately notice that when it affects their ability to buy things. I'd have Infamy/Influence/Profit Factor/whatever (we're just going to call it INF from now on since that works for two of the set) be a set of ten levels from 0 to 9, determined by your INF bonus. So if your INF is 44, your INF bonus is 4, and that's what we care about. It means you can automatically buy anything of with a -30 availability penalty, but -40 or more you have to roll for, although you'd have to calculate the availability penalty differently, probably doing it from your bonus rather than absolute. So the guy with a 44 INF who wants to roll for a -40 item actually takes a -0, because his INF bonus equals the item's penalty bonus, and for a -50 item he would take a -10. Then you would need to redo the availability on every single item, because items with -30 penalties have just gone from being really hard to get your hands on to being automatically available to someone with INF of 40 or higher.

Although this is all a bit more complex, I think it's worth it to give people, especially high INF people, a list of items that they can just have without any rolls at all. It's like, yeah, I'm super rich, you want some carapace armor, I don't even have to roll. Power armor? Well, I'll have to roll, but my odds are like 60% so we should be good. That's a lot more satisfying than having only 70% odds of getting carapace armor even after you've maxed out INF almost completely. Which, again, kind of highlights how a d100 system doesn't mesh well with the 40k setting at all, because a Callidus assassin's odds of sneaking past a Guardsman isn't 80%, it's "yes."
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Mord
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wiseman wrote:
We really could do with an Anatomy of Failed Design on WH40K as a whole.

Seconded.
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

3 different kinds of dice.
3 different kinds of measuring sticks.
Actual line of sight rules, no hex/square based system.
Actual distance movement system, no hex/square based system.
Each and every unit seems to have its very own rules.
Wargear Mod System to outfit every unit that has its own rules already with different weapons that then have their own rules each.
Both the units and the terrain cost an arm and a leg.
Plus the needed books. Which may well be 1 or more years behind for some of the main factions in terms of rules for the latest edition of the game.
The RPG System has the same problem the CBT RPG Mechwarrior does.
WH40K Military Stuff has no place in a RPG Game.

Do you really need more than that?
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Voss
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Some of those claims need explanation. Why does military stuff not have a place in an RPG? Why do movement and LOS need squares/hexes?
Why is 'CBT Mechwarrior' a point of reference?

I can think of fucktons of shit to criticize any version of warhammer for (and they wouldn't be the same criticisms necessarily), but those have me baffled.

as do the dice and measuring sticks. Except epic and BFG, I've just used tape measures for anything warhammer. 3 kinds of dice seems low balling it by a lot, depending on which version you're talking about. Early versions used various RPG style polyhedrons, then came scatter, artillery, and sustained fire (on top of d6s), FFG has their shit dice...


An AFD on 40k as a whole would need to pick an edition. At least in terms of 1st, 2nd and 3rd+, because there are numerous different failure points.
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Military Stuff from WH40K has no place in an RPG for the same reason why the stuff from CBT does not fit in either. Because the scales are too dramatically different.

OK, so you know about WH40K. You know there is an RPG. So, you expect to play . . something you know from the WH40K Universe. A Speech Meringue . . Nope, no can do.
OK then what about . . i know, a Kasrkin? . . No? oh, okay then . . Katachan Devil? Nope. Deathcorps of Krieg Soldier? Noo . . A Bone'ead or even a NORMAL Ogryn? No again. Scout Marine? No? OK. But . . Inquisitor right? Noo, that's who you take your orders from at the most. If you ever get to actually meet one. Probably won't survive it even if he is, nominally, on your side. Even a random run of the mill penal legion imperial army soldier with his gear would basically break the RPG as far as i have read up on it. Same as a BattleMech, Tank or Battle-Armor would in the BT RPG Mechwarrior.

Because true LOS and true distance movement systems are just ASKING for arguments about NU HUH! YOU DID NOT HIT ME! NU HUH! YOU CAN NOT SEE ME! NU HUH, YOU MOVED too far but the fucking measurement unit is what . . INCHES? So you can't even quickly go 2mm too far. You need some bollocks like . . what's the imperial shoesize again? BARLEYCORN? And seeing how 12 of those are already pretty damn big shoes, are they less than an inch or more already?

For the 3 different kinds of dice and measurement sticks i went with what i remembered from stormlanding on black reach, the so called "WH40K quickstarterset".

Which, oh yeah, does come with some stuff, but none of it preassembled or even painted. and it does not come with either paint or brushes or anything like that either. Like GLUE TO KEEP IT TOGETHER. Because that is the business model.
Now that is the same in CBT, but i still say that's a fucking design failure.
If they started to sell resin or tin minies out of a cast/mould and pre-painted and assembled, then it would be much more reasonable. Cheaper for the buyer as well, which, of course, is not what GW wants.
A good business decision does not good game design make in this case.
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Why do you keep talking about cognitive behavioural therapy and/or cock-and-ball torture?

The most recent "basic rules and 2 armies" starter box had everything as either single-mold or quick-snap (no glue needed). Not painted because if you don't want to paint, maybe this isn't the game for you (surely you're not there for the rules?), but you can clip everything off the sprues (I assume that's still necessary) and snap it together and then you're ready. I wouldn't want that for actual boxes of units bought because customisation is my jam, but it just makes sense to have that be what you do for the starter box.

So they have finally done something that other games have done since... well, since Go and Chess and so on, but if we talk about actual minis games we're still pointing at things like Battle Master (some time in the 80s or maybe early 90s) as a comparison.*

Anyway, if you want a real Anatomy of Failure, that's probably a thread on its own, by someone familiar with the original Rogue Trader (I started with 3Ed so don't look at me), talking not just about weird ideas made in the game and weird ideas going forward, but also GW's place in the market at that time and how they leveraged that into becoming what they are today.

*Most KS games don't do that though, for what it's worth. That was a good idea that few people are continuing with outside of actual *board* games. Like, Relic Knights has a nice box set full of sprues that need assembly, because you're not going to the store and buying a box of "now I'm ready to custom-pose things!" minis, the ones you pledged for are your expert-tier stuff. Wrath of Kings doesn't even do that, you get a rulebook and some dice and stuff, and then you get white boxes with sprues and cards. I have the feeling that Toughest Girls in the Galaxy will do that too. Even... Drop Fleet? Apparently did that despite space ships being ideal things for "Here, the minis was printed out, it's complete, just paint it yourself". Dark Souls board game by comparison has solid minis on bases ready for you to paint.
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Did i not explain once before somewhere already that CBT is shorthand for Classic BattleTech?
If not, my apologies.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Stahlseele wrote:
The Military Stuff from WH40K has no place in an RPG for the same reason why the stuff from CBT does not fit in either. Because the scales are too dramatically different.


Why should they be? In Dungeons and Dragons your hero can aspire to lead armies and give orders to hundreds of soldiers. A Legion of space marines is a thousand soldiers. If you had five players and they each commanded two hundred soldiers, they could collectively control the entire Flesh Tearers chapter or whatever.

The actual WH40K miniatures game is usually restricted to about 40 to 60 models on a side, and that represents a really tiny fraction of any meaningful military engagement. A Role Playing Game is not restricted in that way, and you could make strategic decisions and deploy tank divisions and shit because you a playing an RPG and you can describe whatever the fuck you want on whatever scale you want.

There's no fucking excuse for a WH40K RPG to not scale up to conquering cities and planets. There just fucking isn't.

-Frank
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Stahlseele
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DnD has rules for that kind of engagement correct?

i have but 2 questions now:

a.) are there rules for that in the WH40K RPG?

b.) at that point, i ask the same question i ask people who play a lance or more or actual unit commanders of Mechwarrior Mercenaries in the CBT Mechwarrior RPG that try and take over a small world for themselves: why are you playing the RPG and not the actual wargame that is meant to do just that?
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maglag
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Stahlseele wrote:
The Military Stuff from WH40K has no place in an RPG for the same reason why the stuff from CBT does not fit in either. Because the scales are too dramatically different.


Why should they be? In Dungeons and Dragons your hero can aspire to lead armies and give orders to hundreds of soldiers. A Legion of space marines is a thousand soldiers. If you had five players and they each commanded two hundred soldiers, they could collectively control the entire Flesh Tearers chapter or whatever.

-A spech merine legion is about 100 000 dudes in average (ultrasmurfs reaching 250 000 thanks to great recruitment policies and being less prone in driving closer only to try to hit the enemy with their swords). But they've been broken down into chapters since the Horus Heresy.
-Chapters are the spech merine organization that is 1000 dudes strong in average.
-There is no "lead 200 dudes" rank on the side of loyalist scum, either you're a captain leading a company of 100 dudes or a chapter mastah leading all 1000.
-The Flesh Tearers on the other hand are reduced to only 4 companies due to the whole "humies are nothing more than snacks for us to feast upon, of course we're the good guyz!" making it pretty hard for them to replenish casualities as they keep noming potential recruits.

FrankTrollman wrote:

The actual WH40K miniatures game is usually restricted to about 40 to 60 models on a side, and that represents a really tiny fraction of any meaningful military engagement. A Role Playing Game is not restricted in that way, and you could make strategic decisions and deploy tank divisions and shit because you a playing an RPG and you can describe whatever the fuck you want on whatever scale you want.

There's no fucking excuse for a WH40K RPG to not scale up to conquering cities and planets. There just fucking isn't.

-Frank


You mean how D&D has great rules for conquering cities/countries/planes and awesome refined mass combat rules?

Heck, is there even any "scale up from squad to army of millions that can conquer a world" RPG out there?
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Tannhäuser
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

D&D was, of course, originally a hack for Chainmail, and had rules for mass combat by way of it, as well as a late game kingdom building minigame. Every edition since then has made at least some kind of effort to making it so you can go from a raiding party to the rulers and generals of a kingdom.

Dark Heresy was an absolute atrocity as the best foot forward for a 40k RPG after so many years. Going from scummers and gang fighters in a hive to the nobles running it, from kabalite raiders to archons and warlords of commorragh, even advancing up the ork hierarchy would have been more interesting and appropriate for the source material than playing rat catchers in space CoC.
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maglag
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

By that standard, Dark Crusade+splats already offers:
-Rules for creating your own minions.
-Horde rules for mobs.
-Formation rules for armies.
-"Compact" system to conquer cities/planets/systems.
-If you reach 140+Infamy before 100 corruption you can rally the forces of Chaos to start your own Black Crusade and carve a path through the Imperium.

So that's also non-zero effort. However most if not all of the above rules are crap if not outright telling the GM to wing it with only a few example numbers. Basically like D&D has done for decades. Particularly funny is handing out a lot of points for taking out a enemy titan despite, you know, there being no official titan stats as far as I'm aware, at least not on the Black Crusade book or the Tome of Blood splat where the mass combat rules come from.

EDIT: To go in a bit more detail, formations basically abstract all of an army's components into a single Combat Skill (CS) bonus and then roll against the enemy formation.

A lone Warlord Titan is a CS 60. How good is that?

Well, slaves/gretchin are CS 15. Now let's put them in a bunker (whooping +30). Also the warlord titan is fighting solo and gretchins come in swarms so it takes a -30 for being horribly outnumbered.

Final result is a gretchin horde in bunkers is at CS 35 against the lone warlord titan at CS 30, rng of 100. Although to be fair the gretchin are probably using pretty crappy weapons so they would take a -10 penalty. Still pretty close combat. Bring any kind of decent troops with decent gear and things start to look pretty bad for a lone warlord titan pretty fast. And for the record, a squadron of baneblades has the same CS as a Warlord Titan.

Oh, and PCs get to directly add their Infamy as a bonus to CS. You start with 20 minimum and shouldn't be too hard to reach 50-70 in a few sessions. So a party of 5 PCs is adding a whooping minimum +100 to their side! That's the whole RNG! See a warlord titan or baneblade squad on the horizon? Just rally a bunch of slaves to your side and you'll take it out even if you only have sharp sticks!
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So in an RPG how powerful should the average Eldar and Ork pirate be compared to say a guardsmen and space marine.
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Your average Ork pirate is going to be around as good as a guardsman, but more resilient (armour notwithstanding, they can take as much as a Space Marine) and a bit stronger (the S 3 with Furious Charge basically puts them halfway between humans and marines). However if people played as them, you'd want to explicitly write in advancement for them to become bigger and meaner as they go along - Nobz actually have a second Wound each, for instance. So they have bigger growth potential than humans, and obviously they wouldn't have the "We will execute you if you swap your lasgun out for this xenotech rocket launcher" downside.

Your average Eldar pirate is going to be a human, except much more agile/fast/stealthy/perceptive, and also equipped with better stuff, but still not a space marine.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The point is not that any particular RPG has a mass combat game or kingdom management game that is particularly good (although I think it is notable that the mass combat game of L5R is better than every other part of the game), the point is that mass combat and kingdom management is absolutely in the remit of things RPGs can reasonably be expected to provide. And when your setting is "in the grim future there is only war!" the claim that your game can't handle wars is pretty much a total fail.

RPGs can handle things on whatever scale you want them to. The limit is only your imagination and the extent of the rules. If you are writing the rules you have no particular excuse to not cover that kind of eventuality.

-Frank
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maglag
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Again, Tome of Blood provides mass combat rules and now I remember Tome of Decay has actual rules for leading your Black Crusade, including gathering a fleet and going around conquering Imperial Planets while turning planetary plunder into resources for your war machine, delegating authority between your minions, random events like "loleldar happen" and chances for your minions to betray you if you don't keep them under watch.

That only glorious chaos gets to conduct such a large scale operation while the corpse-lovers of the Imperium can't conduct large scale wars is perfectly in-setting. Normal humies are literally forbidden from commanding both ground troops and navy, while spech merines cap at leading 1000 dudes (unless you're a special snowflake chapter and even those only ever lead a few thousands) because the loyalist scum are too afraid of any single individual trying to make Horus Heresy 2.0 happen.

Countless Imperial campaigns fail simply because there is nobody in charge, with spech merines commanders going after their personal agendas while the Imperial Navy, Titans and imperial guard each have their separate chains of command and the Inquisitor can technically requisition anyone but is too busy burning their own dudes for heresy thus they can't agree on any particular strategy and fail to properly support each other, ending up beaten by fungus wielding sharp bits of scrap metal.

And the ork/eldar/tyranid/Tau lines never got off the ground because it would demand dozens more books.
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