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On the Conversion Beamer, Melta Gun and Plasma Cannon

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On the Conversion Beamer, Melta Gun and Plasma Cannon

Postby Maurice76 » Friday February 1st, 2019 11:05am

Recently I started playing "Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion" on my iPad and the relatively short mission time coupled to the reward system got me hooked pretty fast. Because of that, I started to look around for more information regarding the various weapons that are around in the Warhammer 40k universe - not just to understand the weapons I could use on my team, but also to understand why some (like the Plasma Cannon) worked different from the ones in the boardgame of Space Crusade.

Based on what I read, I realised that the game developers designed at least 3 weapons to work differently from how they work in the Warhammer 40k universe. I've been pondering how to change the ones from the board game, to match those to the universe at large and came up with the following considerations.

Plasma Cannon - original
- Fires in a straight line, hitting everything in its path;
- Never overheats;
- Doesn't ignore armour;

In the Warhammer 40k lore, Plasma Cannons are excellent anti-armour weapons, that have a risk of overheating. Furthermore, the Plasma Bolts fired by the weapon explode on impact. To accomodate for these, I was considering changing the weapon as such:

Plasma Cannon - updated
- Single target (which has the added benefit of no longer being restricted to a straight line for shooting);
- Ignores armour of the target, making it excellent against more heavily armoured enemies;
- Changes the dice from 2 Red to 2 White;
- Upon rolling a double 2, the weapon overheats and may not be fired again until the end of the next turn;

The change of red to white dice has to do with the damage curve. If we look at the original one verses the newly suggested one, we see that the damage output was as follows:

Armour Class + Hitpoints* Alien type killed* Chance to kill with 2R, with Armour Chance to kill with 2W, no Armour
1 Gretchin 75,00% 55,56%
2 Orks 58,33% 55,56%
3 Chaos Marines, Androids 55,56% 55,56%
4 Genestealers 16,67% 55,56%
5 Dreadnaught: 1 damage 8,34% 55,56%
6 Dreadnaught: 2 damage 2,78% 33,34%
7 Dreadnaught: 3 damage 0,00% 8,34%
8 Dreadnaught: 4 damage 0,00% 2,78%
* for Dreadnoughts, the multiple hitpoints they have are considered individually and are counted as effective Armour that needs to be overcome to kill off that amount of hitpoints.

As can be seen from this curve, the chance to kill Gretchin drops to the same chance of a regular Bolter, but at the higher end, the damage potential is boosted significantly. In fact, it has the potency to kill a Class VII or Class VIII Dreadnought in a single shot, albeit at only 11% chance. The tradeoff is of course that the weapon has become single target and has a chance of overheating, but this makes it match much closer with the Warhammer 40k variant.

Melta Gun - original
- Fires in a straight line, hitting everything in its path, though a reroll is needed for each target;
- Doesn't ignore armour;
- Has a practical unlimited range;

This basically makes it an upgraded form of a Plasma Cannon, with a twist. In the Warhammer 40k lore, Melta Guns are actually short-ranged weapons, which work much like a microwave and are thereby also excellent anti-armour weapons. Like with Plasma Cannons, Armour does little to protect against a Melta Gun. Based on that, to bring it in line with the Lore, I would propose the following changes:

Melta Gun - updated
- Fires in a straight line, hitting everything in its path, but decreases in power by 1 point the further it travels, until damage potential has dropped to zero;
- Ignores armour of the target, making it excellent against more heavily armoured enemies;
- Changes the 3 red dice to 3 white dice;
- Can penetrate through walls and closed doors (without destroying them);

Like with the Plasma Cannon, the change in the dice used to determine the damage has to do with the potential damage output. Below is a table that indicates the damage output on the tile directly in front of the Space Marine firing the Melta Gun.

Armour Class + Hitpoints* Alien type killed* Chance to kill with 3R, with Armour Chance to kill with 3W, no Armour
1 Gretchin 87,50% 70,37%
2 Orks 75,00% 70,37%
3 Chaos Marines, Androids 58,33% 70,37%
4 Genestealers 37,04% 70,37%
5 Dreadnaught: 1 damage 23,15% 70,37%
6 Dreadnaught: 2 damage 12,04% 48,15%
7 Dreadnaught: 3 damage 4,63% 20,37%
8 Dreadnaught: 4 damage 1,85% 8,80%
9 Dreadnaught: 5 damage 0,46% 1,85%
* for Dreadnoughts, the multiple hitpoints they have are considered individually and are counted as effective Armour that needs to be overcome to kill off that amount of hitpoints.

Like with the Plasma Cannon, the odds of killing a Gretchin and to a lesser degree Orks is reduced, but the damage is much more consistent against targets with a higher armour, especially Dreadnoughts. The wall and door penetration due to its microwave nature might give this weapon a fairly unique edge, to offset the range reduction this change encompasses.

Conversion Beamer - original
- The beam travels until it hits a wall or door, where it explodes;
- Damage is counted backwards from the point of impact (potentially vaporising the Space Marine shooting it);
- The Marine wielding it can shoot and move in the same turn.

In the Warhammer 40k lore, the Conversion Beamer shoots a volley of anti-matter towards the target. As it travels, the anti-matter reacts with whatever it encounters (air, objects, etc ...), increasing its energy as it goes, until it reaches a critical mass. At that point, the volley explodes, damaging all around it. Because of this rather unwieldy nature, the Marine shooting it needs to stand still, otherwise beam cohesion is negatively affected. That's not what the Conversion Beamer in the board game does, which seems to work quite in the opposite way. Also, the requirement to hit a wall or door for it to function makes it situational at best. As such, I would suggest the following changes:

Conversion Beamer - updated
- Damage starts at 1 at the first tile in the direction the Space Marine is shooting, increasing it by 1 point per tile as it travels (when the roll outcome is 0, nothing happens);
- Each unit standing in a tile that the beam travels through, is hit for the amount at that point (unless the unit is caught in the explosion);
- When this sum reaches the amount rolled by the player, the volley has reached critical mass and explodes (according to the existing rules for this weapon);
- The Space Marine wielding this weapon can normally only move or shoot during the same turn, not both;
- The beam travels through walls and doors without destroying them (just like it travels through objects in its path);

I'm a bit in doubt about the wall and door penetration by the Melta Gun and the Conversion Beamer - both if it should be possible and if so, whether or not it should at least destroy the door in the process. However, since the game doesn't currently have any weapons that can penetrate walls and doors, this might give these weapons a nice ability that can be used tactically.

Also, keep in mind that the changes to these weapons apply equally to those carried by Dreadnoughts. Thoughts?


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