Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How the rules relate to real life: the assault phase continued

The rules for the assault phase are probably the most complex, as they combine multiple stats to represent the ability to successfully hit an opponent, and then add in usrs in order to give a more precise scale of ability. For example, you can have two units with equivalent stat lines, but one has a usr, this means that the second unit is slightly better than the first, either through special training, better experience, or sheer hatred. While it might seem odd that if force A hates force B enough to be more likely to successfully deal telling blows while the reverse is not true, it also represents the fact that the hatred might not be equally reciprocal. For example, chaos marines have Hatred for loyalist marines, since they not only hate them, but have had millenia to brood over that hatred. However, the typical loyalist has not served long enough to have the same level of hatred for the chaos marines.

 When we look at the assault phase, we use four stats to represent the models offensive ability: weapon skill, strength, initiative, and attacks. these combine to give an approximation of how mighty a close combatant the unit is. Weapon skill is pretty straightforward, how good they are at striking their opponent in one or more forms of armed combat. Strength is less straightforward, as it both represents raw strength, and martial prowess. In a unit like sluggga boyz, it is likely that it is the brute strength necessary to simply smash a weapon into an opponent and deliver a crippling or lethal blow through sheer trauma.
Space marines are an example that is less straightforward, sure, they have post-human strength, and weapons that are designed to create traumatic wounds, but part of that strength is the ability to place their blows where they do the most harm. The reason this isn't represented by a higher weapon skill is two fold, the first being the defensive implications of the higher weapon skill, it would mean that they would be much harder to hit in close combat than their actual ability would allow, and the second reason is that it would not result in representing the ability to cause wounds properly.
Abilities like preferred enemy, furious charge, and hatred exist to show how psychology affects the fight, without giving a permanent bonus. Preferred enemy grants a bonus because the unit with it has studied their opponent enough to know exactly how they fight, and thusly is more likely to be able to find and exploit weaknesses in their defenses. furious charge and hatred are a matter of simply throwing so many blows at their opponent, or specifically targeting weak spots in order to do the most harm.

The defensive side of this is of course, weapon skill, toughness, and armour save, though initiative could also be argued, in the sense of killing the enemy first means that there are less of them to try to kill your troops. Much like how strength is a measure of how lethal your blows are, toughness isn't necessarily just how resilient your body is. For example, Space marines not only have redundant organs, but also have a suite of medical equipment in their armour that accelerates their body's ability to heal, this translates to a higher toughness. Feel no pain, take this to the next level, where a model has to suffer a lethal wound before being taken out, as pain and debilitating wounds are not enough. This is why feel no pain has been changed so that only instant death denies the ability.

Well, thats all for now, next time, I will chat about the shooting phase, and why it seems as if marksmanship in the 41st millennium is wonky.

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