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Modified NPC rules

Started by MarcoSkoll, September 14, 2012, 12:20:59 AM

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Really need a bit of a break from preparing models for the event this weekend, so I'm posting the adaptation of the Architecture of Hate NPC rules I've been working on.

The AoH rules are definitely very useful, but I do have my problems with them:
- They're a D6 system where high rolls are good (like 40k) which isn't a very practical or compatible change from Inquisitor's "low roll" D100 system, and is less integrated as a result.
- They only differentiate between NPC toughness using armour, and they're a little too resistant to anything but headshots.

Hence, I've taken the ideas and... well, reengineered them. Obviously, all due credit goes to the people I'm stealing from.


Basic NPC stats look like this:
WS BS Str Ac
6  5  +1   2

Weapons Skill & Ballistic Skill (WS & BS): The number represents the basic roll on a D10 that the NPC needs roll equal or under To Hit in close combat or shooting.
Strength Bonus (Str): Rather than a Strength value, NPCs have a Strength bonus, added to any damage they do in close combat. (For particularly weak characters, this may be negative!) In other cases where strength is needed, use GM discretion.
Actions (Ac): NPCs get this many actions automatically.

NPCs get as many actions as their Ac stat automatically (typically 2). NPCs always act at the end of the turn.
NPCs cannot perform combined actions except at the GM's discretion. (They're often a bit wanting for brains. The NPCs, I mean, not the GMs.)

NPC Weapon Damage:
The weapons used by NPCs always do between 1-6 D6 of damage. This table gives approximate guidelines:

1D6: Knives, Thrown weapons, Improvised weapons
2D6: Pistols, Swords, Shock weapons
3D6: Rifles, Shotguns, Heavy Stubbers, Chain weapons
4D6: Bolters, Power swords
5D6: Heavy Bolters, Krak Grenades, Plasma/Melta pistols
6D6: Basic or Heavy Plasma/Melta weapons, Super-Krak, Power Fists

An NPC's ranged weapons never jam, run out of ammo or need reloading. NPCs will never score placed shots.

Rolling to hit:
An NPC's basic shooting hit chance is a D10 equal to or below their BS stat, modified as below. A natural 1 is an automatic hit, a natural 10 always a miss.

An NPC may aim for a +2 to hit - this bonus applies to their next shooting action only, but is always lost at the end of their current turn.

Range Modifiers:
Short (Pistols, Meltaguns, Thrown weapons): -1 to hit per full 5 yards.
Medium (Most weapons): -1 to hit per full 10 yards
Long (Sniper Rifles, Missile Launcher, Lascannon): -1 to hit per full 20 yards

Fire modes:
Single: The NPC fires one shot.
Rapid: The NPC fires two shots at -1 to hit.
Burst: The NPC fires three shots at -2 to hit.

Guidelines on fire modes: Most weapons can use both Single and Rapid fire. "Big" automatic weapons such as a Heavy Stubber or Assault Cannon have Rapid and Burst fire instead. High damage weapons (5D6 or 6D6), except as per the previous point, or those that are Long ranged only have single fire.

The only other normal modifier to NPC shooting is target movement:
Target walked, ran, sprinted or jumped last action: -1 to hit
Target evaded last action: -2 to hit.

Any special modifiers such as target size, Dodge, or penalties caused by forcefields/psychic powers, are one tenth of their normal value (rounding as normal).

Close combat
NPC close combat weapons never break, nor will NPCs score critical hits. Pistols may be used in close combat as normal.

Rolling to hit:
An NPC's basic melee hit chance is a D10 roll equal to or below their WS stat, modified as below.
A natural 1 is an automatic hit, a natural 10 always a miss.

Reach modifier:
Longer CCW: +1 to hit
Shorter CCW: -1 to hit.
(Similar thing for PCs hitting NPCs. +10% if their weapon is longer, -10% if it's shorter)
If an NPC's weapon is particularly long, it may be used at arm's length.

Position modifier:
More advantageous position (higher ground, opponent prone, etc): +1 to hit.
Less advantageous position (lower ground, NPC prone, etc): -1 to hit.

NPCs parry at -2 to their normal WS, with the above modifiers and an extra -1 for each additional opponent (after the first) they are facing. This is unmodified by number of consecutive parries. They only counter attack at the GM's discretion.

The combat damage caused by NPCs is modified by their strength bonus.

Injuring NPCs
NPCs use a different injury system. To save on dice rolling, NPCs have no hit locations - however, one fifth of any hit location modifiers (such as the close combat modifier, placed shots or deadeye shot) is applied to any damage scored, representing more vital locations being hit. (Negative modifiers will subtract damage)

System Shock:
The first step in rolling for NPC injury is system shock. This is a 2D10 roll plus the NPC's Str bonus, which must equal or exceed the damage done after armour. If failed, the NPC is out of action.
If the dice come up as doubles, it is always an automatic fail if the double is a 5 or less, and an automatic pass if a 6 or more.

If an NPC is not immediately put out of the game by System shock, proceed to...

Other injury effects:
An NPC has a Base Injury Value equal to 3 plus their Strength bonus. Divide the damage caused after armour by the NPC's BIV, rounding up. This is the number of injury levels caused. Refer to the table below.

Number of injury levels caused:
1: Minor flesh wound
2: Knockback
3+: Stunned

- Minor wounds have no effect on the NPC.
- Knockback: The model is pushed back D6-Str (to a minimum of 0) yards and left prone (placed on their front).
- Stunned: The model may not take any actions until the end of its next turn (and is placed on their back to mark this). It also suffers Knockback as described above.

NPCs have armour appropriate to the model used. Types of  armour are: None (0 pts), Basic (2 pts), Average (4 pts) and Heavy (8 pts).

QuoteDamage example: Inquisitor Shyloque shoots at Sgt. Henchman with his stubber, scoring a placed shot. He rolls 7 damage on 2D6+2, with an additional +4 bonus for the placed shot (a fifth of the +/-20% modifier), scoring a total of 11 damage. Sgt. Henchman (+2 Str) has 2 pts of armour, leaving 9 points of damage after armour.
He rolls for system shock, needing to roll more than 7 (9 pts of damage, modified by his strength bonus of 2) on 2D10. He gets an 11, so stays in the game.

His Base injury value is 5, so the 9 points of damage inflicts two injury levels - knocking him back D6-Str yards and leaving him prone.

Groups of NPCs:
Semi-automatic fire may be split across any group of NPCs that would qualify as a target group for full automatic fire, randomising the NPCs hit in the same fashion.

Other Rules
Pinning: NPCs who are shot at are pinned unless they roll equal or under their Ac value on a D5. If they weren't hit, they receive a +1 bonus to their Ac value for the test.
Awareness: NPCs will become aware of things on a basic D5 roll equal or under their Ac value, modified at the GM’s discretion according to how sneaky/nois/near/far the characters are.
Actions that are affected by the stats of the opponents: Some actions and abilities are affected by the stats of an opponent. As a rule of thumb, these will be the value of an NPC's stats:
Weapon Skill: NPC’s WS x 10
Ballistic Skill: NPC’s BS x 10
Strength/Toughness: NPC's StrB x 10 + 50
In/Wp/Sg/Nv/Ld: NPC's Ac x 20

The following are the basic stats for “grunt” NPCs. What weapons and armour they have will be dictated by the model being used to represent them:

                             WS BS Str Ac
Servitor                     4  5  +1  1
Civilian/Worker/Slave/Savant 3  3  -1  2
Cultist                      5  4  0   2
Mercenary/Guardsman/Arbites  6  5  +1  2
Sergeant/Judge/Boss Mook     6  6  +2  3
Tech Priest                  5  7  +2  3
Inquisitor                   7  6  +1  3
Space Marine                 7  7  +5  3


That's my latest draft version.

Obviously, it's not quite as simple (as it adds in some modifiers), but I don't think this is a bad thing or necessarily slows games up that dramatically.
The combat changes add a bit of granularity (in that, say, a sniper rifle and a shotgun aren't the same any more) and are perhaps a little less alien, as they're less dissimilar to a D10 version of the Inquisitor combat ruleset.

The injury rules... well, these are a bit less "normal" (System Shock is somewhat based on Infinity), but they do mean NPCs can vary in toughness, and it avoids letting NPCs wander around endlessly because no-one's blown their head off yet.
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

GW's =I= articles


Very nice rules Marco, looking forward to trying them out at somestage.


Thse look good, but of course rules would need tweaking for special circumstances, for instance, in the case of many rifles I would still use 2D6 damage, because the normal weapon damage would be closer. I will certainly test these out when I get the chance.
Circles of the wise My attempt at writing something, please comment on it if you have any advise.


Quote from: Dolnikan on September 14, 2012, 10:43:44 AMIn the case of many rifles I would still use 2D6 damage, because the normal weapon damage would be closer.
The Revised Armoury does normally use 3D6 or variants thereof for most rifles and long arms, but if you're using LRB rules, then adapt as necessary.
In any case, I did want to keep the whole thing to an easily memorable system, which is why damage is just the whole number of D6s (plus any Str bonus) - it gives a wide range of options in an unforgettably simple format.

One thing I should add on a dice related matter - for those wondering, the use of D5s in a couple of cases is intentional. Hopefully, it's obvious that D5 is to D10 what D3 is to D6.
The intent is that NPCs take their tests on D10s or variants - like the D5 for testing versus Ac, or 2D10 for testing system shock - and they do their damage with D6s. (Hopefully this "rule" makes recalling the right dice roll on the fly easier.)

I'm glad to see people are willing to try them out, in any case.
What I'm looking for is them keeping game pace (through simplification of rules, minimal bookkeeping and ease of memorisation) while keeping a bit of depth for the NPCs, so feedback is definitely welcome.

I'd add I'm not completely finished with playtesting the System Shock rules - I am considering changing it to "equal or exceed the damage done after armour" (as opposed to just exceed) to make the NPCs slightly tougher, but I'll want to try that version in a game or two before I'm certain either way.
In any case, it depends a little on how tough a particular GM wants their NPCs to be, so it'll probably get left in as an either-or.

EDIT: Actually, seeing as all the other rolls include "equal to" as a pass, I think I might simply change it from that perspective.
S.Sgt Silva Birgen: "Good evening, we're here from the Adeptus Defenestratus."
Captain L. Rollin: "Nonsense. Never heard of it."
Birgen: "Pick a window. I'll demonstrate".

GW's =I= articles