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 Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)

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PostSubject: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 1:58

Well my group is picking up Mordheim soon and as with most games I start playing I do a lot of legwork on them to get a feel for the system. As such I have a massive list of house rules as it stands and I'm trying for a few more.

At this point I've come up with armour fixes, shield/hand-weapon fixes and two weapon fighting fixes as well as a few things for club/hammer abuse and the dreaded sling.

But on that is still giving me fits is the Handgun. Compared to all other ranged weapons it is overpriced and underpowered. It can't move and fire and the 'prepared shot' rule cripples it greatly in a game with so few turns. Finally the extra armour piercing isn't worth the price tag under the basic rules (more worth it under my house rules though) thus the increased cost isn't even slightly justified.

I may be okay with it if it was at least an improvement on the crossbow but it is shorter ranged, slower firing and no stronger.

The worst bit is that I want to keep Black Powder weapons expensive because it makes sense (just like armour). So I actually went and made a simple computer simulation to determine roughly what the biggest problem was in hopes of finding a solution. Here are my findings:

- The test is against the Longbow at varying ranges from 36" to 12" I ran a batch of 10,000 fights at each range.
- These tests did not take into account longbow mobility (it was a quick hack and I was testing weaknesses in the handgun so I figured not to bother) but it did take into account moving into range.
- No cover was assumed for some tests as it usually effected things equally (testing non-symmetrical occurrences yielded little).
- I simply counted any injury as a "win" for the side in most cases (some tests suites involved increasing the injury roll of Handguns so I wanted to see how that would perform).
- The test assumed basic human stat-lines.

With the above assumptions in mind I ran the basic tests and was shocked at the results. In four rounds of 10,000 tests each the usual layout was:

- Longbow: 7500-8000
- Handgun: 1500-2000

At longer ranges from 36" to above 12" the handgun rarely got more than 1400 wins and this roughly doubled at close range to 2400 or so. After running it several times it became obvious that the handgun was only about 1/5th as effective as the Longbow which was about half its cost. This was not good at all. It should be expensive due to rarity but with numbers like that it simply can't ever justify the price tag.

So I tried several options:

- Increase S to 5: This resulted in a few more wins but surprisingly it was still roughly 1/5th of the time.
- Increase Injury roll by +1: Almost no change here.
- Remove Prepared Shot: As I began to predict it was this that was the weapon's clincher. Removing this rule made the handgun a little under twice as effective as the Longbow and exactly on par with the crossbow (except the armour pen increase).

So knowing that 'prepared shot' was most certainly the biggest performance hit I began to look at ways of ousting it while keeping the flavour of the weapon. And this is what further testing indicated:

Handgun
Range: 24"
Strength: 5
Special Rules: Armour Penetration, Move or Fire, Non-optional Misfire rules

Now keep in mind I also shifted the ASM start point from 4 to 5 so it retains the -2 ASM instead of getting a -3. Move or Fire represents the weapon's long set-up/reload time and misfire becomes non-optional (with result six producing a more powerful shot but destroying the weapon) to make it a little more risky than the normal ranged weapons.

I figure this makes it a powerful and feared weapon that is actually worth an increased price tag. The other changes include changing the Hunter skill to allow users to move and fire with handguns every other turn (i.e. they can move and fire but next turn they need to choose and so on) though this may become every turn depending on testing. Finally Improved Black Powder removes the misfire rules for a single game in which the weapon is used.

The only other real change made is giving the Hochland Longrifle a +1 to hit.

So does this go too far? Does this make them too powerful or does it strike a nice balance? What have other people tried? And finally is my simulation rather full of it? Very Happy

In any case I want to hear a few more ideas for making one of my favourite weapons in the game just a little more worth the price tag because it would be a shame to leave all my handgun Thunderers at home even though I do love my crossbow Dwarfs. So lets hear some opinions and maybe some alternate takes on the problem.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 2:15

Yeah, we've addressed most of the same issues as you in our gaming group. Although the fixes for handguns and armor were just to make them cheaper. I'd be interested to hear what those other fixes you've made are. Perhaps you could PM me them?

It feels like that new handgun is going to be too strong, but when I think about it, the current handgun is so incredibly bad that the one you describe might work nicely. I guess go ahead and test it out. Another option would be to remove the prepared shot rule and give the handgun +1 to hit. That'll keep it and the long rifle similar in flavor.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 2:57

Interesting..
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 3:13

Haha, take a look at the rules in my signature *wink* *wink* Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 5:56

A very interesting concept. In my group we changed the handgun to move or fire (just like you did), but we kept it at strength 4 and gave it a price of 30 GC (slightly more than a crossbow to reflect the armour piercing ability). Unfortunately everyone took a warband without access to them immediatly after we had discussed all new houserules, so it remains untested Wink .
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 11:32

Asp wrote:
Haha, take a look at the rules in my signature *wink* *wink* Wink

Ah, yes, I've read those and that's where I cribbed the S5 ASM start from though it is only now that I notice we did much the same for Handguns and Longrifles. Funny that. Very Happy

As for the other changes made most have been relatively standard from what I can tell:

- Clubs/Staffs/Hammers are kept at 3 gc but lose concussion (they become the standard "hand weapon" ala WFRP).
- A new entry is added to lists that could take Clubs/Staffs/Hammers called Mace/Warhammer that costs 5 gc and does have concussion (I figure with armour being improved that it will be more of a tossup between this and the axe).
- Critical hits now no longer deal wounds without an armour save (and a few other changes).
- Shields give a 5+ save in CC.
- Bucklers give a 6+ save in CC.
- ASMs start at S5.
- Armour provides a post-game save against injury equal to its armour save (6+ for light, 5+ for heavy, 4+ for Gromril) not including things like shields and other modifiers. (may decrease this to 6+/5+/5+ instead but at 150 gc Gromril is fairly pricey so it will only likely come up on wealthy characters)
- Fighting with a weapon in each hand is at -1 to hit (and I later added the Maniac Warrior skill to counteract it as it sounded like a good idea).
- The sling has its range reduced to 12" and it gives a +1 ASM but cost stays the same.
- All black powder weapons lose Prepared Shot.
- Handguns and Hochland Longrifles are increased to S5.
- Hochland gets a +1 to hit.
- Misfire rules always apply.
- Heavy armours give a -1 initiative instead of move when used with a shield.
- Hunter skill allows move and fire every other (or every) turn with Handguns or Longrifles.

That's more or less it so far until I can get some testing in on it next week to see how it does. But I figure it can't really be any less balanced than the old rules. Very Happy

Mostly it's a list of things that sounded logical and stuff cribbed from other sets of house rules. Here's hoping it works because I love a lot of things about Mordheim.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 13:29

Quote :
- The sling has its range reduced to 12" and it gives a +1 ASM but cost stays the same.

Bad bad BAD for Skaven :-|
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 15:25

For two points a piece I think they can stand to lose out a bit when compared to the short bow which is worse in every way and more expensive. Further testing will be needed and I will likely drop the +1 ASM if it proves too much but to me it seems far too good for just 2 gc but I can't think of a reason to increase its price because, fluffwise, it should be dirt cheep.

Basically I wanted it to be cheap and something you used as a basic ranged weapon at close range instead of something that seems to be one of the most useful weapons in the list because it was badly costed. The sling is certainly worth more than 2 gc as it stands so I figure to keep the flavour of a cheap ranged weapon it needed to be made worse.

As for the Skaven they could use some more love in ranged but I think that needs to be addressed with more variety instead. Besides with their mobility the lowered range shouldn't be too bad and the rarity of armour means that the +1 ASM wont be too big. With more armoured targets they have things like the Warplock or close combat instead.

As I said testing is needed but I don't see a huge problem with toning down a weapon on the list that was simply too good.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 16:54

Always good to see people thinking about these things, Ronin. I've always felt that handguns simply aren't worth it. They are far outlcassed by longbows and crossbows. I don't think I've ever seen anybody take them in a campaign, which seems a shame to me. Like you, I've been thinking about ways to change that, and had been thinking about the +1 to Injury Roll rule, but from what you're saying, it seems that this simply isn't enough. Not being able to fire every turn is the real issue, particularly since the game can end so quickly. I think you've hit the nail on the head. Compare a sling to a handgun, and if you could, you'd be giving slings to your dwarf thunderers if you could!
We use the same rules for armour that you have - shields give 5+ in combat, armour gives a save before rolling on the Injury Table to see if a model can avoid having to roll on the table. Oddly, though, I'm not sure how well this works as we ALWAYS forget this rule. Still, I think it should encourage the use of armour, which in turn means more variety in warbands.
I'll be looking through your suggested changes before we start our new campaign to see if any of them can deal with the problems that came up frequently in the last campaign.
Thoughtful and useful post!
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Fri 13 Feb 2009 - 21:05

I'm always amazed at what people think needs fixing.

Slings have not made the list for my group. This could be because we use the Warhammer 6th edition 6's to hit rule plus heavy cover for stone walls, buildings and ruins. Slings are unlikely to hit and more likely to be OOA because of Quick Shot from bows, longbows and crossbows. (Because no one takes handguns...)

We use the shield and a hand weapon rule from Warhammer 6th.

What does ASM mean? Assistant Stage Manager to me.

So if handguns and Hochlands are S5 what are your warpfire pistols?
Also am I missing something about the Nimble skill?

I do like the hit modifier for using an extra hand weapon. And the skill to eliminate it.

Do not understand the need for nerfing clubs, etc., but I don't play in your groups. I just told my group they have to stop allowing 2 swords to re-roll a parry...
Cheers,
js
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Sat 14 Feb 2009 - 0:45

Slings are quite cheap for being longer range than short bows and getting to double tap at short range. Since a bit of leather isn't really expensive it seems odd to bump the price up to more than a short bow thus it gets made a little worse so it isn't costed less than it is really worth. Since you can load up entire warbands with these the cost savings becomes quite a bit and it can be unbalancing if over used. So we could either trust people or just have the rules enforce a little diversity, I tend to like the latter but then again I love adding house rules to things. Very Happy

The shield rules are just a simplification of the 6th/7th shield and hand weapon rules. The better save is close combat only. Either way works really but I decided to just give it the larger bonus and not go through and classify which weapons were hand weapons and which weren't.

ASM is Armour Save Modifier, or at least that is what it's meant since 2nd Edition 40k. Very Happy

Didn't change Warpfire Pistols, why would I? They are quite powerful for a pistol (S5, Armour Save Modifier -3) as it is so no change is really needed. As for Nimble I completely missed that one, looks like I'll be coming up with a new version of Hunting... Hmm, what about a +1 to the Injury roll to represent hitting vital spots to quickly bring down the target. Kind of a Strike to Injure for handguns and such.

Finally clubs get nerfed because, like the sling they are costed too low for the benefit. We look at an axe, it gets a -1 Armour Save Modifier cost a couple points more, but armour isn't terribly common so piercing it isn't as massive a boon as it seems to be costed as (see the cost of Gromril weapons, handguns, etc.). So a normal bog standard weapon is made to represent cheap weapons like a basic club, small hammer or other tools/bits of wood used as cheap melee weapons. If you want the better version made to conk someone out then buy a Warhammer/Mace for a couple points extra with the concussion ability. Just a small change to encourage diversity.

Since concussion weapons and axes are equally costed and shields will see more of a presence under the house rules (hopefully) it will be more of a toss up whether you want a better chance of taking someone down or getting the chance in the first place.

The primary problem with Mordheim was that the rules didn't really encourage much diversity. Two weapon fighting, no armour, clubs instead of axes, no one takes handguns, ad nauseum. The basic rules and campaign system rock but I can see things getting boring quickly if everyone takes homogenous choices. So most of the changes are made with encouraging a mix of units.

But in the end house rules should be made on a group by group basis in order to get the right balance. Basic Mordheim likely works fine for the Devs that made it while each group seems to alter it in some way to balance it for their group because you can't get a better balance than one made just for you and your group of friends.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Sat 14 Feb 2009 - 3:28

We used to play with handguns and long rifles as +1 s for halfrange, makes it pretty powerful against tincans Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Sat 14 Feb 2009 - 17:15

That's exactly my feeling on this one, Ronin. As the rules stand, there's very little diversity in the way warbands are equipped. No armour and two hand weapons (normally clubs because they're cheaper and they're better than axes - at least if nobody's wearing armour) is the norm.

As with Ronin's ideas for his gaming group, thet changes we use in our group are there to try to break out of this routine. The shield rule you use is the one we use as well, and it means that there's more incentive to drop the second hand-weapon. However, it's really still too easy to reduce armour saves, with skills and increases, certainly as you get further into a campaign.

I suppose the idea behind all the different warbands is to have that diversity, but if they all end up taking exactly the same equipment because of the way the rules are, it sort of defeats the purpose, I think.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Sun 15 Feb 2009 - 1:18

More or less, that was the major problem I had with Necromunda. Though not always as pronounced as in Mordheim it hat a fairly standard "optimal" equipment set as well. Things like hand flamers, lasrifles, and autopistols tended to trump most things along with heavy stubbers, heavy stubbers and more heavy stubbers until you could affort the autocannon.

I'm hoping that all the benefits stacked on armour will make it worth it if just for the injury save alone. With the strength armour modifier taking effect only at very hight strengths, criticals no longer ignoring armour at all and a few other choices armour seems like something that will actually keep you alive now, even if you are taken out of action. It also makes me feel better about taking Gromril on my Dwarfen Noble instead of picking up another couple henchmen. Very Happy

Diversity and multiple build viability should always be high on the list for fixes because they keep replayability up by making builds less static from iteration to iteration. If that can be achieved then the novelty will last much longer which is always a good thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Wed 27 Mar 2013 - 14:15

As I have said I have been looking threw old threads and found this one and wanted to put my two bits in for what I have been wanting to test out.
I don't have the above test runs to work off of but here is what I have.

-Handgun: 30 gc; Availability: Rare 8
Maximum Range: 24"; Strength: 4; Special Rules:
● Load or Move: You may not move and load a handgun in the same turn, other than to pivot on the spot to face your target or stand up.
● Save Modifier: Handguns are even better at penetrating armor than their Strength 4 suggests. A warrior wounded by a handgun must take its armor save with a -2 modifier.

-Hunting Rifle:
150 gc; Availability: Rare 11
48"; Strength: 4; Special Rules:
● Load or Move: You may not move and load a Hochland long rifle in the same turn, other than to pivot on the spot to face your target or stand up from knocked down.
● Pick Target: A model armed with a Hochland long rifle can target any enemy model in sight, not just the closest one.
● Save Modifier: Hochland long rifles are even better at penetrating armor than their Strength 4 suggests. A warrior wounded by a long rifle must make his armor save with a -2 modifier.
● Accuracy: A Hunting Rifle is built for accuracy as a skilled sniper is able to hit an apple from one hundred paces. All shots from a Hunting Rifle have a +1 bonus to hit.

Special Equipment:
-Tripod:
30 gc; Availability: Rare 6
A Tripod attaches to a Handgun or Hunting Rifle giving the shooter a +1 to hit. To do so the model using the Handgun or Hunting Rifle can not use this ability if they have moved.
-Speed Loader:
25 gc; Availability: Rare 7
A Speed Loader allows a model that suffers from the “Load or Move” rule to ignore this rule.


Now why I like the "Load of Move" rule over the "Move or Shoot" rule is that it is not unreasonable to have a model bring a rifle down and aim (even if not great) and shoot as it's just pulling a trigger.
Well Loading is quite difficult to do with a muzzle loader rifle.
The two new pieces of equipment are meant to also make these weapons better. The Hunting Rifle could have a +2 mod making it quite accurate well the speed loader will make for some mobile shooting. Both as hero only and expensive along with rare so I don’t think they are unbalanced.
I do recognize that this makes Hunter and Nimble less useful as Skills. Though Hunter was already useless as Handguns/Rifles were never used anyway. Nimble at least had a use for Crossbows (and still does) so I see no reason to change it right now.
Hunter would need to be looked at changing now in order to make them useful.

-Hunter: All wounds caused with a Handgun or Hunting Rifle suffer a +1 modifier.
*This now makes Hunter useful and should also boost the use of Handguns… This was already suggested above.
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PostSubject: Re: Improving the Handgun (and Hochland Longrifle)   Wed 27 Mar 2013 - 23:41

Personnaly, we chose to simply use a different (and more powerful) critical hit chart for blackpowder weapons.

As critical hits are fairly common, this offer an edge without having to ''rerules'' alll the blackpowder weapons.

Here it is.

1-2 Wounding :

The missile penetrates deep its target’s flesh. Ignore all armour saves. Reroll for another wound as if you had hit a second time. Its possible you roll another critical hit!

3-4 Thundering shot:

Ignore amour save, +2 injury roll.

5- Power shot:

Ignore armour save, cause 2 wounds, +1 injury roll.

6 Head shot:

Targets go out of action if it misses his armour save. If the target have a helmet, roll a die, on a 6, the target is stunned instead.
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