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Pi-Thrower:
Hello and happy new year!

Greetings from Berlin... a new hub for Inquisitor (or so I hope).
Over the past year I picked up four inquisitor miniatures, and a recent auction provided me with a couple more. Enough to start two or three Warbands (I am starting out small) - and introducing my friends to a new miniature game.
More auctions (all on their way to me via the postal services of Europe) will provide me with more parts and miniatures... I am starting out on a rather grand scale of possibilites.

My tabletop background is firmly routed in Warhammer Fantasy. The armies (and minis) I can field are numerous... lately going heavinly into conversion-armies (hence my intereste in Inquisitor 54mm - where every miniature should be a conversion of some kind). My halfling dogs-of-war always make me happy when I play them, despite the luckless-ness they apparently bring. We still play the 7th edition due to the more tactic-heavy battles and higher skill based movement (basically... guessing ranges for artillery and attacks are where we feel at home).

Other tabletop games include Battelfleet Gothic (currently inactive on my hobby bench), Dreadball (Mantic, also inactive) and Necromunda - which I started playing two years ago (Living rule book, not the new battle-card based kind).

Last but not least, do I have a big board game collection - said collection (and enhancement thereof) leads me every year to the SPIEL fair in Essen... which also was cancelled last autumn.

Last year allowed very limited oppertunities to play anything (board games and miniature games alike)- I am sure, it's the same for all you, too.
Basically the only WFB games were played via a battlereport-system in emails going back and to.
Magic the Gathering simply works more easily via Webcam sessions (yes... another money sink of mine).

Narrative games for me were either board game based... or Shadowrun, DSA or Splittermond (all RPG games, that I enjoy). I was Gamemaster in two of them.

My hope, for the vast amount of games I own, lie in this years vaccinations and lifting of restrictions thereafter.

My overall goal is to incorporate the Inquisitor game with Gothic and even Necromunda (so that everyone of my friends sees a connection to a different board game)... except for WFB of course.

My background in 40k politics therefore is also lacking. For me Gothic (another discontinued game by GW) provided me with the ship battles I wanted... the narrative background wasn't my primary focus.
This must change with Inquisitor... as it is a narrative game. As the primary Gamemaster I will need to be able to tell a story and incorporate the characters the players design/pick.

Again being used to Warhammer, I will (in the beginning at least) rely of the points system in the last pages of the ][LRB to balance out the warbands.... I feel that I need this (though mostly frowned upon) system as a backup net.

The first games should be simple and use two or three models per player. Maybe an NPC (or security drones) as a distraction (and something to fire on).

Reading the rules - and fitting them to the miniatures I own - I already have a couple of questions.
---Where can I find the rules for the Servo-Skulls (I only found a new with the Tau Emissarsy that his drone follows the same rules... but those I can't find)?
---Where can I find the rules for the Cyber-Mastif?
---If I try to balance them point wise (again, please bear with me... In the beginning I must "weigh" my teams somehow) do you happen to know the point value... or is that arbitarly allocated (like apparently the MIU-linked shoulder cannon in the Covenant-example)?
and
---What is the Wt-column in all the weapon charts? Is it Weight? And must I therefore compare to the characters strength to see if the BS (or WS) ito figure out the negative impact or the roll?

And... as a very last question... the rulebook mentions that a calculator is needed to figure out the modifiers for each die-roll... Is that really the case? Because... I haven't fully gotten into the depths of the rules yet when something is halfed... my basic understanding is: division first, then subtract or add at will. However... with the amount of modifications this is almost scary (from the Necromunda kind of view).
Has someone maybe developed an app to make that part of the game easier (i.e. ask for the kinds of modifications)?

Many questions from my end...

let's finish this post with many Hello's, as well.

Hiya! Hello, Hi y'all! Howdy :)

MarcoSkoll:
First of all:

Welcome to the Conclave!


--- Quote from: Pi-Thrower on January 07, 2021, 10:40:08 AM ---Again being used to Warhammer, I will (in the beginning at least) rely of the points system in the last pages of the ][LRB to balance out the warbands.... I feel that I need this (though mostly frowned upon) system as a backup net.
--- End quote ---
I'm probably going to be pretty intense here (I can be overly passionate at times...), but my starting advice is: Don't use the Ready Reckoner.

No, seriously, do NOT use the Ready Reckoner.

It's worse than useless; having a points system actively encourages players to try to play the metagame of optimising within those limits, which is one thing when the points system is at least broadly accurate, but becomes a disaster when the system is as poor a metric of a character's power level as the Ready Reckoner is. It gives players a false impression that the game is a play-to-win experience, which it isn't meant to be - Inquisitor is  closer to tabletop improv theatre than it is a conventional RPG.

(I don't entirely blame the Ready Reckoner though; I don't think it ever could have been a good system. The variables to account are too numerous, so it's forced to exist on a sliding scale between "horribly clunky" and "horribly inaccurate" with no happy medium).

The other problem it creates is that Inquisitor doesn't work well with too many characters on the table, so it's common practice to swap team members in and out as appropriate for the scenario (assuming that the others are away performing other duties). That's problematic with a points system unless all characters have very close points values.

~~~~~

As is, the best balancing metric we've found over the years is the good intentions of the players and the GM. There are no exploits when players are actively trying to be reasonable.

Admittedly (aside from some self control), it takes experience to be able to do that well, but the good news is that we have some guidelines that provide a good starting point, known as the Conclave Standard.

If you're really stuck? The forum has access to some of the most (and quite probably THE most) experienced Inquisitor players and GMs in the world; you can always ask us for help.


--- Quote ------Where can I find the rules for the Servo-Skulls (I only found a new with the Tau Emissarsy that his drone follows the same rules... but those I can't find)?
---Where can I find the rules for the Cyber-Mastif?
--- End quote ---
Other equipment, right at the end of the Armoury section. (They don't have very elaborate rules).


--- Quote ------If I try to balance them point wise (again, please bear with me... In the beginning I must "weigh" my teams somehow) do you happen to know the point value... or is that arbitarly allocated (like apparently the MIU-linked shoulder cannon in the Covenant-example)?
--- End quote ---
I'm going to stick with my above commentary. With the limitations of the ready reckoner, you're probably better off guessing.


--- Quote ------What is the Wt-column in all the weapon charts? Is it Weight? And must I therefore compare to the characters strength to see if the BS (or WS) ito figure out the negative impact or the roll?
--- End quote ---
Yes, that's the weight value.

Unless you're going to worry about encumbrance rules (and frankly, the best encumbrance rule is usually the WYSIWYG one - if you can actually model the character with it, fine), this usually only affects BS rolls, and frequently is only important if a character is using a very heavy weapon or has become injured. Don't worry about it too much.


--- Quote ---And... as a very last question... the rulebook mentions that a calculator is needed to figure out the modifiers for each die-roll... Is that really the case?
--- End quote ---
No, I usually do it mentally. For the most part, it's mostly multiples of five and ten, and with the quick reference sheets it's not too hard to look them up. (I probably couldn't do it so well at the moment, as I'm out of practice, but when I'm on form, I can usually remember most of the range and damage tables without having to look them up).

The main pain in the arse is hand to hand combat, where each parry/dodge in a turn does halve your WS for each successive attempt (to which you then have to reapply the penalties), and this is usually not very pretty as far as the mental maths. As such, this mechanic was emphatically abadoned for the Inquisitor Revised Edition (IRE) fan project. (Instead, IRE uses a mechanic that compares the margins of success of both the attack and the parry to decide who wins, rather than expecting the attacker to wear down their opponent before they've got a decent chance of getting through).

One of my big pieces of advice here is "just roll the dice". Is the character a marksman with a sniper rifle and several levels of aim? Then you can confidently say that rolling a 17 on a d100 is a hit without having to worry about calculating the exact target number. Also, a five or less is always a hit, a ninety-six or more is always a miss - a tenth of rolls don't even matter what the target number was.

If, after rolling, you're not sure if it's a success, then you can worry about checking the exact modifiers. But only doing the maths when you need to can save a lot of time and hassle.

Pi-Thrower:
No worries,

I totally understand your emphasis on not using the point system.
After my initial post I already had found the conclave standart on my own.

However... (please don't roll your eyes)... I still intend to rate the characters I create with this system to get an idea of how powerful they are.

No point system in the history of GW has ever been perfect. Necromunda has, to my knowledge, the best so far - as does probably Mortheim. Both are exclusive to a single race with the same starting stats (again... my point of reference is the "old" living rulebook, not the changing stats and basesizes stuff of the new iteration). To it is only used to rate equipment.
Let's assume for a moment that a rifle and a baseballbat are comparable. With a starting ganger both have a different value, based on the damage they can do. That's already the point where he buck stops. The point system cannot include the likelyhood of "getting some use out of the item" - i.e. it is more likely to shoot at someone in necromunda than it is to get into CC if you move your gangers carefully.
And again, in here is skill, experience and a wee bit of luck (when has a jump across a gap between building ever worked in the moment that you needed it to?). And I am aware that that isn't planable either. Since it is not planable, it is not to be pressed into a point rating system.

Even simpler games, such as WFB, struggle when it comes to points and value on the battlefield. I play the 7th edition, as I mentioned - where the only first strike army are an archenemy of mine, the High Elves. Outright they had to increase the point costs of every unit... How likely is the overpriced archer to use that rule? Not likely at all. And even if it gets into CC, Strength 3 will not help the archer that much anyway. Are the elite troops (all CC oriented) too cheap? Probably. But they are still expensive enough that only small units are used - In this case, the size of the unit is the balance the game requires.

Inquisitor, being more complex than Necromunda, having no rank and file bunuses like Warhammer, starts out with different races. Including the Space Marine (genetically engineered and power-suited-up nonesense) was an early mistake in my eyes when Inquisitor started out.
With obvious close combat characters and obvious ranged characters, no point system can ever evaluate them in comparism.
Add to that psychics and hero-scaled characters (the Inquisitors themselves) and you get a convoluted starting band from the beginning that not only depends on the situation in the playing area - but also on experience of the player.

I meant no offense when I wrote that I intend to use the bad point system.
I was aware that it is subpar... but then... it always had to be.

And when I wrote that I will be using it, I imaged some backlash.

So let me explain, how I intend to use it:
Comparing alike characters.
I recently tried to create my first character: an arbites enforcer and rolled the values. I rolled luckily... compared them to Barbaretta and noticed that my character was just better. That immediately gave me two options: a) decrease the volume in equipment or b) decrease the stats.

Having no game experience, I don't know how much the stats really matter. Looking at the range table alone, provides the problem, that yes... with a 4' by 4' field the last third of the columns is never used, which means... very situational circumstances for every weapon.

Building an Arbites Enforcer, cutting back on the equipment is (since it is a police unit)... odd. Why would this one not be issued the standard equipment? Would she/he have had a different training? How many different tactical equipements can I assemble that still resemble the Enforcer role?
Frankly... not many.

So in the end, I must compare this createed character with a baseline somehow.
The conclave standart states that most characters in the rulebook are concidered to be too strong...
So that is confusing right from the start. Does the document mean the Inquisitor type characters? Or "grunts" like Barbaretta?

So when it comes down to it... I must start somewhere. When I let my players create a character on the own, I must be able to compare them. Having no experience, I must somehow find out, which of the two, or three created leaders is stronger. Which should get slightly worse companions...

I never meant to assign every character a point value and add it up with all other companion characters to get a sum of x and compare that with a different band.  But I must somehow be able to fathom what will be on the playing field, and how the others can interact with that in return.

I want to allow my players some freedom. And I must be able to evaluate what they create.

I am sure you can understand my point of view... since it will fall upon me to be the GM... balancing is a big part of that. An unbalanced game is less fun for everyone (I learn from my mistakes).

That said...
Do you play with the revised fan edition rulebook instead of the living rule book?
Are there other (useful) simplifications than the CC?

And back to the servos and mastifs... thanks for the pointer where to find their rules. I got a mastif with a 40mm base in the mail, what size do the servos get mounted on usually?
Are there any characters that you put on bigger bases (such as the Space Marine or the Kroot for example)?

Mentirius:
I'm nothing like the Inquisitor rules experts Marco and our other hobby-focused vets are (more of a roleplayer/writer myself really), but I do remember attempting to use the ready reckoner myself as a GM, back in the early days of the game.  I therefore feel I'd be remiss in not making at least some comment here.

In short, while I do sympathise with your desire for some way of gauging approximate power levels of the characters in your campaign, I'd say your problem isn't that a points system exists and is deeply flawed.  It's that from the point of view of an overwhelming majority of players and the man who actually wrote the ready reckoner, no such system does exist.  RR is so flawed as to be worse than just looking at the stats and trusting your gut, as you (rightly) did with your Arbites and Barbaretta.  It will pass over or even create balance problems that a bit of critical thinking would easily identify.  It misleads GMs and players as to character tabletop power and actively helps to cause imbalanced games rather than avoid them.  The values given there have very nearly no bearing whatsoever on character effectiveness.

It's not really a matter of game philosophy; it's an issue of false equivalence.  Inquisitor is a complex game with a lot of options compared to E.G. 40K, while RR is so horrifically simplistic, it's like deciding to call every single person in a country by one of three randomly chosen names, and expecting not to have constant misunderstandings.  If you're Dave Daveson, but NOT the Dave Daveson who just brutally murdered three different Jim Jimsons and is wanted by the law, then you might have a serious problem in such a system.  If you're an employer to whom fifty different Dave Davesons just applied for the same job, you'll want to select from the half dozen who are actually qualified.  The ready reckoner assumes all Dave Davesons are the same - it's the equivalent of actively deciding to ignore every detail about every applicant EXCEPT for the name, despite the fact it's the one thing about them all that is totally interchangeable.

I don't know how much sense that made, but this isn't me naysaying, honest!  It's just that if you want a workable points system to use a power-level benchmark for an Inquisitor campaign, and I'm not saying that's a bad idea for a GM (although I'd avoid telling players they have "points" to spend or you'll get a plague of min-maxing) you would honestly be better off writing your own metric from the ground up and basing it on actual mathematics.  For example, a formula for gauging approximate/average weapon damage per turn and having that effect the "cost" of the weapon, or something.  Alternatively, you could start with the Necromunda points system as a base, figure out a formula for "converting" those costs into an Inquisitor format (I saw someone do something similar with D&D stats at some point), and add complexity from there to account for the greater variety. 

You may also run into lore issues sometimes, whereby the rarity of certain gear or abilities in the 40K universe doesn't correlate with how effective they actually are, E.G. a common lasgun is one of the all-round best weapons in the game...  But that probably isn't going to ruin any games, though it might undermine immersion for some players.  Pursuing game balance is not a bad thing, just a bit of a doomed endeavour with this particular game.  The community tends to feel strongly that Inquisitor should be played non-competitively from an OOC point of view, E.G. "my Inquisitor is going to do this stupid thing that will probably get him killed, because it's what he'd do in this situation based on what he knows"...but that doesn't mean the characters shouldn't be trying hard IC to achieve contrary goals, and when two of them end up in combat, it is more exciting if the fight takes a while and could easily go either way than if one is a massive underdog by virtue of his opponent wearing power armour.

The CC rules do suck, by the way.  Essentially you need to get very lucky or attack twice in one turn not to get endlessly parried, and yet even the greatest swordmaster of all time will get butchered in seconds by someone frenzied enough to take three or four wild swings in quick succession.  This was the aspect of the original rules that annoyed me the most, since I'm big into dramatic sword duels - I haven't played with Marco's CC variant but it is almost certainly better.

I may be in a tiny minority here with this next bit, but "Conclave standard" as a system is a little on the harsh/frugal side with stats in my personal opinion, given how exceptional Inquisitors and their retinues are meant to be in most of the existing fiction.  I also find it excessively vague in its descriptions of what level of aptitude constitutes a certain number (E.G. what exactly is the difference between an expert and a master?).  On the other hand, having read through the threads where people tried to be more specific and always ended up in savage arguments without resolving anything, it probably is as specific as a community consensus was ever going to get.  I do sometimes end up seeing the CS Inquisition as implausibly inept, BUT these are more gut/lore objections on my part than comments on the game balance that results from using the Conclave Standard.  Those who do espouse it have probably played more hours of Inquisitor between them than the rest of the world put together, and certainly more individually than I have, so I imagine they know what they're talking about.  On balance, if I do resume playing the game at some point, I probably will use it myself.

But, with all that said...personally I don't see a problem with soldiers in a universe as gritty as 40K having stats mostly in the 70s, and full Inquisitors rocking multiple 90s.  The important thing is that whoever they're up against should ideally be comparably competent, and that there should be some correlation between how likely characters are to hit each other, how much damage they are likely to do, and how tough/well armoured their targets are likely to be.  Some GMs (I get the impression this is the majority) prefer lots of bullets to fly around without finding a mark but to have a serious impact when they do hit, so they tend towards moderate BS and Toughess for their characters.  WS/BS are then the crucial stats to balance between sides, while keeping Injury Values relatively low, so a bullet isn't just shrugged off.  That is pretty much the core of Conclave Standard as I see it, and from this point of view, yes, every single character in the Living Rulebook is grotesquely overpowered.  Slick Devlan is a classic example of a character who avoids nearly all penalties related to his area of expertise and is almost guaranteed to hit when he shoots you. 

Others prefer to have the drama rely on how much damage characters can weather before going down - this tends to result in longer games and means one has to be very careful with how prevalent the skill "True Grit" is allowed to become, but for my money it's a perfectly valid way to go about getting an exciting story out of your game/campaign.  This does end up requiring higher average Toughess values to compensate for higher BS and/or more damaging weapons (I'd say 70ish for a soldier as opposed to than 50ish), and generally results in players wanting heavier duty gear; not that you're forced to let them have it.  From this point of view, and with a couple of exceptions (looking at you, Artemis) I'd say the rulebook characters are mostly fine - so long as you stick with that as a benchmark and have everyone on the table be comparably nasty.  This is a less popular way to go about the game than CS and probably a less balanced approach overall, but I freely admit it's how my group used to play, since we didn't know any better in those days, and we had enough fun using "Rulebook Standard" that I'm still nostaglic about it 20 years later.

Really, it seems to me that the fundamental problem the Inquisitor community always wants to avoid is a situation where two players who have never met before have a one-off game at an event, and one warband totally flattens the other without any fun being had, on account of their differing views on how to translate 40K lore into a workable percentile system.  If you're GMing this campaign for people you actually know, you shouldn't have that problem, or much less so.  When in doubt, play-test, and encourage your players to adjust their stats up or down as appropriate if balance issues come to the surface during the campaign.  Above all else, remember that as far as the campaign is concerned, you are the God-Emperor and your gut is Law!  Whatever you decide to do about game balancing, don't be afraid to write your own rules whenever existing ones don't pass muster for your group.  In fact, if you do manage to come up with a better points system than the ready reckoner for GMs to use when quickly gauging the relative power of player characters...post it up on here!  Sooner or later there will be someone else with the same problem, who will be overjoyed to discover someone else already came up with a solution.

Re: Base sizes, in theory everything should be round 40mm bases (assuming you use 54mm scale models, which I think it's a bit of a shame not to really).  In practise, servo-skulls usually use 40K-style clear flying bases, and especially big models sometimes have to go to 50mm bases to fit both feet.  It doesn't really matter a great deal, since Inquisitor boards tend to be free form rather than divided into squares or hexes.  At the end of the day, do what you think looks best!

Good luck with it all anyway.  I hope I haven't come across as too pro- or anti- any one approach, as it really has been an obscene amount of time since I played myself.


MarcoSkoll:
Mentirius has already touched on this, but the problem isn't merely that Ready Reckoner just isn't a good system, it's that it's actively a terrible system.

It evaluates all stats equally, all skills equally and many of the most dangerous weapons are actually some of the most common (in most cases, a boltgun is considerably more useful than a meltagun, despite being half the cost). The granularity is poor (a character with all 50s on their stats has the same pricing as one with 59 on all their stats, despite the considerable difference that represents), and there's no consideration of the synergy between elements.

Since writing it, Gav Thorpe has said that it's something he'd remove from the rules if he had access to a time machine.

~~~~~

If I *had* to re-write the ready reckoner rather than obliterating it from orbit, I'd go with a system more along these lines:

- Convert each stat to decimal (So a stat of 64 becomes 0.64), square that, then (seeing as the RR gives a stat of 100 a cost of 15), multiply by 15 to get its cost. (I guess round off to the closest half point).

- Abilities have the same cost as the main stat they affect (so True Grit costs the same as the characters Toughness, Rock Steady Aim the same as their BS, etc). Every successive ability affecting the same stat cumulatively has its cost increased by half. (So a second Toughness ability would cost 1.5x, a third one 2x). For things like Ambidextrous, base it on whichever of their WS or BS is more likely to be used (or, if they're likely to use it for both, then count the cost of both).
For Psychic Powers, I might instead make the successive penalty based on the number of disciplines. Stuff from your first discipline costs 1x, from a second discipline 1.5x, etc.

- Weapons and gear, again, have their cost evaluated based on the relevant stat. Common gear costs half their stat cost, Rare the same, Exotic twice, and Legendary three times. You might need to nudge some gear up or down rank categories, as the rarity lists aren't a great metric for their power.

- For armour, I'd be inclined to take a similar approach to the original rules' stat pointing method. The first 4 points on a location are 1 point each, after that it's 2 points for each additional point. Reflec/Ceramite coatings cost 2 points for less than 4 AV, 4 points for over 4 AV. Ablative armour costs half.

That is by no means a balanced and tested system (frankly, I came up with it in five minutes) - it'll still have many of the original issues, and I still doubt it's a good system, but I think I can be fairly confident about it being better at evaluating power level than the Ready Reckoner; there's a more granular assessment of stats, and skills and gear have more consideration about what they might be synergising with.


--- Quote ---That said...
Do you play with the revised fan edition rulebook instead of the living rule book?
Are there other (useful) simplifications than the CC?
--- End quote ---
I play with the Revised edition whenever possible, although not everyone out there has adopted it. (That said, the Revised Edition has been written so that the character sheets are mostly back compatible, in order to make it so that players can adopt it without permanently forcing themselves to stick with it).

I wouldn't necessarily say that the IRE rules are always simpler, but they are generally more consistent and streamlined.
The main things it does is try to fix the close combat rules, make the psychic rules more flexible, and consolidate as many out of turn actions as possible into a general purpose framework that characters can use at will.

For the most part, the intention was to remain faithful to the feel and style of the original rules, rather than doing a massive re-write. (It is a fan edition after all, not an official reboot). As such, things like the injury rules, while perhaps a bit better explained, haven't had many changes. (We reduced the effectiveness of Stunning, and slightly changed System Shock, but not much else). It was an area where we couldn't agree on large changes without massively altering the feel and style of the rules.


--- Quote from: Mentirius on January 11, 2021, 05:17:47 PM ---I may be in a tiny minority here with this next bit, but "Conclave standard" as a system is a little on the harsh/frugal side with stats in my personal opinion, given how exceptional Inquisitors and their retinues are meant to be in most of the existing fiction.
--- End quote ---
This is a case where gameplay concerns need to supersede lore (which, to be honest, is frequently rather "awesome awesomeness to the max").

The thing is, Inquisitor as a game is still forced to be turn-based, so the character that acts first naturally has a considerable advantage. Introducing a reasonable chance of failure into that reduces just how huge that advantage may be. If your opponent's first move is an 80% chance of blasting you with a plasma pistol, naturally this is less likely to turn into a thrilling and protracted fight than if it's instead a 60% chance of hitting you with a stub-auto.

The problem here is that both sides are the protagonists. In a traditional RPG, it's fine if your bad-ass one shots a tough NPC - you're probably outnumbered, and the GM isn't (usually) very attached to that NPC.
In Inquisitor? This isn't fun for either side; one player has just lost one of their characters with no chance to counter (at least in the LRB rules, there's no chance to react to shooting other than to choose to fail the pinning test after you've already been shot at), the other now hasn't got a challenge.

Many of the best combats I've had in Inquisitor have gone on for at least a few turns; there's the time for the tension to build up and the story to actually happen.

In any case, if all characters are brought down in kind, then the relative power levels are still maintained.

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