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Reinnon
04-04-2007, 01:17
Hello All

I'm sorry in advance (hmm, actually you'll most likely be reading this after reading the title so that doesn't sound right) for the length of the title, and the apparant disagreement with the idea of this thread.

As i was sitting in a 7 hour train journey (without a seat due to the evilness of the english train services refusal to use the right amount of carriages) i was thinking about the world of 40K and its basis in reality, and my mind often turned to the idea of AP.

One of the many complaints i hear about the AP system is the all and nothing aspect of it, people citing it "unrealistic" and so prefering the more logical warhammer system of modification.

But, here is my question: is the AP system that unrealistic?

i fully admit, my knowledge of armour vs bullets is limited, only have a rather brief crash course in the basic of projectiles in A level physics, so my knowlegde of the penertraing qualitities of bullets is basic to say the least.

ok, while on the train i was pondering this problem... is there a "threshold" that a bullet (i use the words bullet to keep it simple) would not pass through an object, i.e. the AP of the bullet?

My first logical guess would be that the PA system is too unrealistic, for even a piece of paper slows a bullet down, why couldn't power armour slow down a bullet enough to prevent it from doing injury... but then i realised that i was making a mistake.

i was using logic to solve a piece of science, a mistake that Aristotle made, heres a new logical step that i came up with to make the AP system, based around my observation of stuff like mythbusters.

i came to the conclusion that the AP system was not unrealistic, in fact it made more sense to me then the warhammer system.

for example: the system of bullet proofing glass is based upon thickness and the material in question, there is athreshold to which say a arrow will be stopped by the glass, but this is a very different total from say a sniper bullet, the AP system seems like a good way of representing this in game.

It seems to me that on a purely logical level, there has to be a level of glass that would stop a sniper bullet, but this same level could offer little resistance to a blast of a tank cannon.

my arguement is thus: the AP system represents the ability for a bullet to penetrate an object quite well in a purely logical sense, strength for warhammer does not work very well when applied to bullets as the penetration qualities of the bullet is not often linked to how hard it hits, but its mass/design/etc.

however, by using logic i've been making the same mistake as Aristotle, physics i learnt rarely follows human logic, so i pose this question to a science boffin who has studied this area of science in depth:

Is the AP system unrealistic in a purely scientific sense? Is there a threshold where a bullet will always be stopped by armour and where it will pass right through?

Thanks in advance for reading thsi rather long winded post

Ravenous
04-04-2007, 01:34
Exactly.

The standard military kevlar armour we have today cannot withstand a M16 5.56 45 calibar round or an Ak-47 7.62 45 calibar round from any distance. In fact they cant even stop a 9mm round from 100m away. Its meant to take on shrapnel and small rounds from LONG distances. Ultimately its just meant to be "stab proof" but there are knives with diamonds woven into the tips to go through kevlar.

With tanks almost every shot from an anti tank weapon will either kill you or cripple you. And in the case of spall rounds (needle tipped missile that once it hits a tank will punch through the armour and spray liquid hot metal all over the crew and everything else inside) it will do both.

With 40k its based in the extremely distant future and they have made up materials, so it is difficult to say what could do what. However I do know that every time there is a measure there is a counter measure.

Considering 40 weapons like the plasma gun that fire super heated liquid uranium with is like firing mini suns at people, In theroy a plasma gun should be able to blow up a land raider in one shot.

Usually anytime people say "The AP system is unrealistic" I just shake my head and say its 39 thousand years in the future and based on made up history for plastic men. Its kind of like everyone saying 500 years ago that the world was flat.

Scorpion
04-04-2007, 02:09
I'm quite the military buff, so I thought I threw my two cents in for a change.

In real life, armour piercing projectile have an entirelly different design, composition and working, than say, an anti-personnel one. For instance, armour piercing bullets are often denser than normal ones (since the denser the bullet, more easilly it can penetrate other materials) and have sharper tips (which facilitate penetration, while blunt projectiles have more "knock-down" power).

Even today, so-called "bullet-proof" vests are rated according to the round they can stop, the heaviest of those can stop a 7,62mm NATO round from PENETRATING the vest (the damage done by the bullet hitting the vest is not avoided, people using bullet-proof vests are usually saved from a bullet wound, but often suffer a broken rib or two).

Bullet resistant materials are very resistant to stress, but when you add anough stress (say, a small caliber cannon shell hitting a kevlar vest), the material will break down and let the bullet pass through. How much stress the vest can take (and therefore, how powerfull the bullet it can stop) is dictated by both the material of which it is made and of how it is built (kevlar fibres are often interweaved to improve resistance, and multiple layers offer more protection, at the cost of weight).

I have no problem conceptualizing the different armour saves as different categories of protection, and weapons with different APs as weapons using ammunition with varied power. A Tau armoured suit (Sv4+) would be a little bit better than today's heaviest suits, capable of absorbing practicly all small arms fire, but an autocannon (AP4) would be powerfull enough to break down the armoured components of the suit.

Data007
04-04-2007, 02:12
A plasma gun almost can, almost. However, who's to say one layer of it's laminated armor isn't supercooled to stop stuff like that. I like to think that the armour a guardsman wears is far beyond the kevlar vest that is common. The only reason it's a 5+ armour is the fact that it doesn't cover enough of the body to save the soldier all of the time. Bolters, on the other hand, are more along the lines of an rpg, which will likely blow up the target, even if it doesn't pierce it.

HalfEvil333
04-04-2007, 02:15
I pretty much agree that the AP system is more realistic than AS mods, I just don't like how it works. Causes too much of a gap between 3+ and 4+ saves. More to do with weapons and army composition, though.

archonbrujah
04-04-2007, 02:23
I do understand the point the OP is making. However, as a game AP is much quicker and easier to use then mod systems. Also, I propose that to make a completely realistic sci-fi system we add the folowing:

-rules for deep striking troops burning up in the atmosphere :)

-rules for troops in non-sealed armor catching the alien germs and dying horribly and quickly.

-a LD roll to prevent troops from freezing up when they first spot the alien menace.

-why are all battles fought in worlds with an earth type atmoshphere? Wouldn't more of them be on hostile worlds where shrapnel hitting your armor and causing a breach is a death sentence?

Obviously I am exaggerating, but I find realism doesn't mesh too well with far future sci-fi. Suspension of disbelief is a great thing.

Archonbrujah

HalfEvil333
04-04-2007, 02:29
Well, they used to have a rule for deep-striking units like that. I know they used the term "Lost in the warp" for it, but it ment they same thing. Don't know what happened to it during the transition from 3rd to 4th.

spacedwarv
04-04-2007, 02:38
Warhammer 40,000 is very,very far from real life. If it were only Imperial Guard would be released in plastic. I do not like the AP system in Warhammer 40k as that a STR 10000 weapon can still not be able to pierce a Marines armour. I instead favor the system in Warhammer fantasy were the STR of the weapon and special rules modify armour saves adn would like to see that implemented.l have done a few games using that as a house rule, AP 1 or 2 weapons give the fantasy Armoru Piercing rule, adn it has actually worked quite well. Of course I have only done it in games w/ IG and SM (we only have a substantial amount of those players in my area.)
[dice0] Darn I didnt hit the Ork.

505
04-04-2007, 02:39
archonbrujah...you got it right. I always find the "realisticaly" argument extremely funny. ralaistically giant deamons don't erupt from people. and a lot of people in fantasy use the realisticaly argument..well in a game of dragons and magic...realistically just don't cut it.

one thing I do like about fantasy (but makes games quicker in 40k) is that you can get all 3 saves. ( sure the melta can slice through your power armor...but I'm hinding in this little bush and the leaves might protect me hehe)

however just one save speeds up games sooo much. imagin a terminator in a building 4+ followed by a 2+ followed by a 5+ could make for a looooong game

insaniak
04-04-2007, 02:45
Is there a threshold where a bullet will always be stopped by armour and where it will pass right through?

The idea behind that question is, I think, the core of why people think the AP system is flawed: They see it as armour works vs armour doesn't work... which isn't actually backed up by the way the rules work.

If your armour was an automatic save, then that would be the case. But it isn't.

An armour save is merely a chance that the armour might prevent the wound.

The AP system simply adds a level at which the armour you're wearing has no chance of stopping the shot.


There is never a point, under the AP system, where armour will always stop the shot. Your armour either might stop the shot, or will never stop the shot, depending on how powerful said shot actually is.

Which seems perfectly realistic to me...

Ravenous
04-04-2007, 03:07
Even today, so-called "bullet-proof" vests are rated according to the round they can stop, the heaviest of those can stop a 7,62mm NATO round from PENETRATING the vest (the damage done by the bullet hitting the vest is not avoided, people using bullet-proof vests are usually saved from a bullet wound, but often suffer a broken rib or two).


Thats why they call them ballistic resistant vests now, Hollywood and the police(more so the LAPD) are to blame for the bullet proof name.

The weapons that fire 7.62mm rounds (M14s, AK47s) will kill you 90% of the time with the vest on. Even if the vest takes it dead on it will kill you but rupturing organs and shattering ribs spraying bone into your lungs and heart.

Take it from someone who was in the military for 4 years. Vests are better at carrying more ammo and reduce death by a small amount. They are more useful at blocking shrapnel being spraying by bullets hitting the cover around you.

Concret hurts like hell btw which makes marines that dont wear their helmets even stupider.

EmperorEternalXIX
04-04-2007, 03:34
Honestly, I think it makes sense as it is. Bullets don't "kind of" penetrate armor in reality; they are either strong enough to pierce it with little to no trouble, or too weak to pierce it at all. The only exception maybe being mass fire eating away at the armor, but that is a non-issue in 40k because mass fire will eventually wound you and you will fail a save, which simulates mass fire wearing down armor indirectly.

Sickstringabyss
04-04-2007, 04:11
I think there are too many factors involved within the land of make believe to say whether or not the AP system is realistic or scientifically sound (in comparison to contemporary reality, anyway). However, I do believe that it is logical in a general sense.

More importantly though, it is simple to use, helps with balancing the game, and provides a good representation of a weapon's general effectiveness versus different armor types. The keys to this are rolling to wound and rolling to save.

For instance, a Space Marine that gets hit with a strength 9, AP 2 lascannon could still survive the shot if the opposing player rolls a 1 to wound, despite the fact that the AP 2 weapon easily negates his 3+ power armor save (I'm sure there is a scientific explanation for why this happens). Perhaps the shot didn't hit a vital organ, perhaps it hit at just the right angle to diminish it's ability to pierce the power armor. Perhaps random occurance x does whatever (insert random science content here) and the Marine lives. Usually a Space Marine that gets hit with a lascannon will die, though on occasion (for whatever reason...science, physics, voodoo?) he and his armor will stand up to the shot. This is represented well by the 16.67% chance of failing to wound by rolling a 1 on a D6.

On the other hand, though bolter rounds (str 4, AP 5) typically will just bounce off power armor, there is still a random chance that they will find a weak point (more science, etc.) in the armor and fatally wound the unfortunate Marine. This also is well represented by the 33.33% chance of failing an armor save by rolling a 1 or 2 on a D6.

I believe that the AP system is a good indicator of the most probable weapons vs. armor results in 40k reality. However, when you factor in all the variables that could conceivibly occur within the chaos of a 40k battlefield, it is impossible to predict with 100% certainty what weapon x will do to entity y wearing armor z. Though from a physics standpoint weapon x always compromises armor z in a controlled environment, once you leave the lab any unexpected variable could alter the results.

So to finish my long winded post ;) , we simply don't have enough data to say that AP is or isn't scientific, we can only speculate that there is some logic behind the system. Perhaps it is a mistake to use science and physics to solve a work of human logic :D .

Good post. Thought provoking, and a pleasure to respond to.

Master Bait
04-04-2007, 04:12
Honestly, I think it makes sense as it is. Bullets don't "kind of" penetrate armor in reality; they are either strong enough to pierce it with little to no trouble, or too weak to pierce it at all. The only exception maybe being mass fire eating away at the armor, but that is a non-issue in 40k because mass fire will eventually wound you and you will fail a save, which simulates mass fire wearing down armor indirectly.

or is reflected by the use of the rending rule

I am not Lictor1989
04-04-2007, 04:13
Thats why they call them ballistic resistant vests now, Hollywood and the police(more so the LAPD) are to blame for the bullet proof name.

The weapons that fire 7.62mm rounds (M14s, AK47s) will kill you 90% of the time with the vest on. Even if the vest takes it dead on it will kill you but rupturing organs and shattering ribs spraying bone into your lungs and heart.

Take it from someone who was in the military for 4 years. Vests are better at carrying more ammo and reduce death by a small amount. They are more useful at blocking shrapnel being spraying by bullets hitting the cover around you.

Concret hurts like hell btw which makes marines that dont wear their helmets even stupider.

Well to my knowledge the modern military vest that is in use over in Iraq can now stop AK-47 rounds. Not to mention there is new armor being developed that can stop a point blank detenation of a hand grenade (I think its called dragon skin though I'll have to look it up). So really bullet proof vest have come a long way since you have been in the military from what I can see.

Also I dislike the 40k system as the fantasy one makes a bit more sense IMO. Just seems strange to me that someone can get up after being hit by an autocannon no matter what save you have I find it silly.

FireN.Brimstone
04-04-2007, 04:50
Well to my knowledge the modern military vest that is in use over in Iraq can now stop AK-47 rounds. Not to mention there is new armor being developed that can stop a point blank detenation of a hand grenade (I think its called dragon skin though I'll have to look it up). So really bullet proof vest have come a long way since you have been in the military from what I can see.

I think you missed the point. The kenetic energy of the bullet will still kill you, even if the armor stops it.


Also I dislike the 40k system as the fantasy one makes a bit more sense IMO. Just seems strange to me that someone can get up after being hit by an autocannon no matter what save you have I find it silly.

Personally I think you can make a stronger case that the autocannon should have its AP value increased, then saying that the AP system is broken. Not that I'm saying the autocannon should have it's AP value increase, wouldn't work from a game balance stand point.

VenrableOne
04-04-2007, 04:55
Be careful when you claim something is realistic. In the background the belief that a thing works will make it work. Just ask any Ork if the red ones go faster.

So then can you claim that AP or ASMs are a realistic representation? Yes, to both.

With AP you have your armor either fails or saves. It is a very abstract way to look at things. ASMs show that even though armor may save, there may be some degradation due to the type of projectile.

In the end it is not a question of science rather than a preferred view point.

Hellebore
04-04-2007, 05:11
With bullets and vests, they each counter the other.

Here is the standard list for bullet prevention:

http://www.njlawman.com/Feature%20Pieces/Body%20Armor.htm

Line up a hundred vests and fire the same calibre at them from the same weapon at the same spot, and I bet you that the vest will either stop it, or let it through. There won't be a middle ground.

On that list it tells you what calibres it protects against, and which ones it doesn't.

The AP system in 40k follows this quite closely, except that it also has a Strength value in addition to the penetration - when it should really just be a penetration value, and a chance of being incapacitated (which you could argue the S value represents).

The Save value however, merely indicates the chance that the shot hits the armour. A failed armour save in my mind indicates that the shot hit a point on the body that is not protected by the armour, or is LESS protected. A space marine's groin/neck, a guardsman's anywhere.

The AP value ignoring the armour save merely says that the target has no armour capable of stopping the hit, so there is no chance the hit will actually be stopped (ie by making an armour save).

So think of armour save as 'chance the round will strike a part it can't penetrate' and AP as 'ability to ignore said armour'.

Hellebore

Aundae
04-04-2007, 05:29
While there have been a lot of good points made, from just purely a game stand point the only gripe I have about the AP system is the protection gap between armor 3+ and 4+.

Hellebore
04-04-2007, 05:33
I think the problem is more to do with the die being used.

3+ vs 4+ on a d6 is a pretty big percentile jump (16.66%). It goes from 50% to 66.66%, from a 1/2 to 2/3rds.

Using a larger die would lessen the burden somewhat, so long as the values weren't stretched out to be percentily identical (using a d10, making a 4+ sv a 6+ sv is percentily identical).

The bigger the die, the smaller the increments, and the less of a jump values become.

Hellebore

The Dude
04-04-2007, 05:40
With AP you have your armor either fails or saves. It is a very abstract way to look at things. ASMs show that even though armor may save, there may be some degradation due to the type of projectile.

I think it’s better described this way:

AP System – A hit will always be absorbed by the armour, but there’s still a chance that the armour will fail to prevent a wound. If however the AP is low enough, it is strong enough to discount the armour, meaning a wound is assured.

ASM System – An increase in the strength or penetrating power of the hit will decrease the chance that the armour will prevent the wound being sustained. However this means that there is pretty much always a chance that the armour will work.

You also have to keep in mind that a casualty in 40K isn’t necessarily a death, and so a wound could represent having the wind knocked out of you and passing out, or taking a flesh wound that puts you out of action for the rest of the battle. This gives armour saves a bit of a different meaning. The AP system merely represents weapons as being strong enough to make sure that SOMETHING bad happens to the intended victim, whether that is incapacitation or death; not necessarily that it is strong enough to actually pass through the armour altogether.

This debate also sort of reminds me of the old, “Why do Stormtroopers wear armour if one laser shot still kills them?” debate. The way I see it is that the Stormtroopers armour stops the majority of the shot, but the damage is still sufficient to drop them. That doesn’t mean that when the medics rock up later with the Bacta kits that they can’t make a full recovery. And that’s certainly better (and cheaper) for the Empire than letting their crack troopers have a hole burned clear through them.

Hellebore
04-04-2007, 06:39
To make it more realistic, armour should probably look like this:

Resistance Value: what 'calibre' a weapon requires to go through.

Covering percentage: a Literal percentage value that tells you how much that person's body is covered in armour.

You compare the AP value of a gun to the armour's RV, and then you make a percentile roll to determine whether the shot hits a point on the body not covered by that armour.

Thus Power armour would be:

RV: 3

CP: 90% or something.

Only AP3 and down ignores the RV, otherwise you need to roll against the CP to see if you hit a point that isn't covered in armour (like the neck joint, the elbow, the groin etc).

You then roll to wound the character based on the strength of the weapon.

Hellebore

The Dude
04-04-2007, 07:03
This also helps explain away how the Choppa works. It's sharp and heavy enough that no matter how thick the armour, the best you can have is a 50/50 chance the armour will prevent the wound. Of course if your armour would only offer that much protection or less usually, it's not going to offer any benefit.

Or to follow hellebore's example, no matter what the RV of the armour, it would only ever count as 50% CP max

Ravenous
04-04-2007, 07:11
Some one mentioned getting hit with a lascannon then rolling a 1 to wound.

Basically what that represents is a glance. Its like running over a hill and having some snipe off your canteen.

In the case of a lascannon its extreme luck and is probably only millimeters away from skin (catching a shoulder guard or helmet). Mind you of course it will still hurt like hell due to the force of it but it wont drop you.

Its like the guy in saving private ryan. He has a bullet bounce off his helmet and is stunned by the exprience....... then gets his brains splattered every where but thats not the point. Its random luck.

BrainFireBob
04-04-2007, 07:22
Hello All

I'm sorry in advance (hmm, actually you'll most likely be reading this after reading the title so that doesn't sound right) for the length of the title, and the apparant disagreement with the idea of this thread.

As i was sitting in a 7 hour train journey (without a seat due to the evilness of the english train services refusal to use the right amount of carriages) i was thinking about the world of 40K and its basis in reality, and my mind often turned to the idea of AP.

One of the many complaints i hear about the AP system is the all and nothing aspect of it, people citing it "unrealistic" and so prefering the more logical warhammer system of modification.

But, here is my question: is the AP system that unrealistic?

i fully admit, my knowledge of armour vs bullets is limited, only have a rather brief crash course in the basic of projectiles in A level physics, so my knowlegde of the penertraing qualitities of bullets is basic to say the least.

ok, while on the train i was pondering this problem... is there a "threshold" that a bullet (i use the words bullet to keep it simple) would not pass through an object, i.e. the AP of the bullet?

My first logical guess would be that the PA system is too unrealistic, for even a piece of paper slows a bullet down, why couldn't power armour slow down a bullet enough to prevent it from doing injury... but then i realised that i was making a mistake.

i was using logic to solve a piece of science, a mistake that Aristotle made, heres a new logical step that i came up with to make the AP system, based around my observation of stuff like mythbusters.

i came to the conclusion that the AP system was not unrealistic, in fact it made more sense to me then the warhammer system.

for example: the system of bullet proofing glass is based upon thickness and the material in question, there is athreshold to which say a arrow will be stopped by the glass, but this is a very different total from say a sniper bullet, the AP system seems like a good way of representing this in game.

It seems to me that on a purely logical level, there has to be a level of glass that would stop a sniper bullet, but this same level could offer little resistance to a blast of a tank cannon.

my arguement is thus: the AP system represents the ability for a bullet to penetrate an object quite well in a purely logical sense, strength for warhammer does not work very well when applied to bullets as the penetration qualities of the bullet is not often linked to how hard it hits, but its mass/design/etc.

however, by using logic i've been making the same mistake as Aristotle, physics i learnt rarely follows human logic, so i pose this question to a science boffin who has studied this area of science in depth:

Is the AP system unrealistic in a purely scientific sense? Is there a threshold where a bullet will always be stopped by armour and where it will pass right through?

Thanks in advance for reading thsi rather long winded post

Logic gives the same conclusion, you just need to apply logic without the use of fallacies- sorry for the bald statement, but that's logic.

The fallacy you're making is equating the "str" characteristic with "power" or "energy." It's not. Str reflects the ability of a round to cause damage- be it from power, yes; also from poison, explosive secondary detonation, incendiary propertives, "shredding" properties, etc.

"Realistically," AP is a decently accurate system. People misunderstand the "str" characteristic as a strength characteristic, and assume higher strength must equal more power. No, just a greater likelihood to cause damage, thank you, given it bypasses the armor. Totally different beasts- and that's how the logic needs to be set up.

insaniak
04-04-2007, 07:46
With AP you have your armor either fails or saves.

No it doesn't.

Once again, with AP, your armour either fails or has a chance of either saving or failing.

Armour doesn't save automatically.

Shrike30
04-04-2007, 07:56
The weapons that fire 7.62mm rounds (M14s, AK47s) will kill you 90% of the time with the vest on. Even if the vest takes it dead on it will kill you but rupturing organs and shattering ribs spraying bone into your lungs and heart.

Take it from someone who was in the military for 4 years. Vests are better at carrying more ammo and reduce death by a small amount. They are more useful at blocking shrapnel being spraying by bullets hitting the cover around you.

Think about this for a second:

Newton's third law is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every time you fire a weapon, there's an equal amount of energy going into that bullet heading downrange as there is going into you, the shooter, as recoil. If that energy were sufficient to rupture organs, shatter ribs, and spray bone into your lungs and heart after striking body armor, why are you able to fire them comfortably from the shoulder, even without body armor on? And no, it's not your rifle's mass absorbing the energy... that body armor weighs more than the rifle, and it's absorbing the impact, usually using a metal or ceramic plate to spread it out across an area noticeably larger than that of your rifle butt.


I think you missed the point. The kenetic energy of the bullet will still kill you, even if the armor stops it.

The Kevlar Survivor's Club (http://52.128.225.198/SurvivorClub/) would like to disagree with you.

While bruising is common after body armor stops a bullet, one of the primary rating factors for body armor is "backface deformation"... essentially, the size of the dent a bullet leaves in whatever's on the other side of the armor when it's hit. The maximum acceptable by the NIJ is 1.73 inches / 44 millimeters, and most classes of body armor must be able to withstand six hits from two different types of ammunition without any more deformation than that. Class III body armor, the lighter type of "rigid" armor intended for combat, is required to be able to withstand six impacts of 7.62x51mm at approximately 50 feet / 15 meters with no deformations beyond the 1.73" maximum... this round is used in the M60 and M240B machine guns. Class IV is required to be able to stop a single armor-piercing .30-06 round, again without more than the 1.73" maximum.

I'm an EMT... among other things, my job involves doing CPR on dying patients. The compressions required to properly do CPR on an adult are approximately 4-5 centimeters deep... almost exactly the maximum allowable backface deformation for an NIJ-rated piece of body armor. I'm delivering close to a hundred of those compressions a minute directly over a patient's heart, and it's a life-saving technique. The myth that a single impact, or even a short series of impacts at random places on someone's torso will kill them through sheer kinetic energy alone is laughable.

The NIJ reports that police officers who wear their body armor routinely are 14 times more likely to survive a shooting incident than those who do not.

NIJ Selection and Application Guide to Police Body Armor (http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/169587.pdf)

Ballistic Resistance of Personal Body Armor, NIJ Standard 0101.04 (http://www.nlectc.org/pdffiles/0101.04RevA.pdf)

American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care: Adult Basic Life Support (http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/112/24_suppl/IV-19.pdf)

Hellebore
04-04-2007, 07:57
No it doesn't.

Once again, with AP, your armour either fails or has a chance of either saving or failing.

Armour doesn't save automatically.

It does, just not in the rules:angel:

Which was why I suggested a coverage and Resilience/Armour Value for everyone - one to tell you whether it is ignored, and the other to tell you whether it hit an armoured spot or not.

Hellebore

Zedric
04-04-2007, 08:07
For instance, a Space Marine that gets hit with a strength 9, AP 2 lascannon could still survive the shot if the opposing player rolls a 1 to wound, despite the fact that the AP 2 weapon easily negates his 3+ power armor save (I'm sure there is a scientific explanation for why this happens). Perhaps the shot didn't hit a vital organ, perhaps it hit at just the right angle to diminish it's ability to pierce the power armor. Perhaps random occurance x does whatever (insert random science content here) and the Marine lives. Usually a Space Marine that gets hit with a lascannon will die, though on occasion (for whatever reason...science, physics, voodoo?) he and his armor will stand up to the shot. This is represented well by the 16.67% chance of failing to wound by rolling a 1 on a D6.
I think this is the classic Hollywood shot-in-the-arm-that's-really-only-an-inconvenience. The benefit of being shot with a lascannon, of course, is that it'd be instantly cauterized. :D

Actually, there's art depicting Marines fighting even after losing their arm, so that certainly speaks to the concept. :)

Shrike30
04-04-2007, 08:12
Not every hit is going to wound someone badly enough to take them out of the fight. Keep in mind, the game doesn't track non-disabling wounds on most models, nor does it differentiate between "dead" casualties and "disabled" casualties except in the case of Instant Death. A Space Marine getting a chunk blown out of his backpack by a lascannon or a guardsman having a bolter shell take a big chunk out of his leg aren't necessarily out of the fight (though they've gotta be hurting)... they got hit, just not badly enough to Wound them.

Ianos
04-04-2007, 08:31
Can a grenade kill 10 people in one go? yes it can it can simply explode amongst them and will turn them to little pieces of flesh and bone. Lets say that this grenade has str 6.
Can this same anti-personel grenade destroy a tank? no even if it lands right on it. Now there are special projectiles called kinetic missiles that will simply have enough speed to go through the tank's armour and once in will not have enough energy to come out. They will simply keep bouncing inside the tank shattering all men and equipment inside. Lets say that missile has str 10. Now what would that do to the 10 men we previously mentioned if it was shot to them as a target? If they where out of cover and in LOS and the shooter was lucky maybe the missile could kill one person but thats it. But also it wouldn't matter if that man wore 10 inches of steel as he would die just the same.
How do we differentiate those 2 projectiles? Str and AP. The first would be smth like ap5-6 and the secon ap1. If the grenade on the other hand had small diamond shrapnel erode from it's surface it could even penetrate steel killing even troops with good armour, but that would not increase its strenght it would just give it ap.
As for game balance... if AP was not there forget tactics, everybody would just use autocannons which is also totally unrealistic in its own way.

Nurglitch
04-04-2007, 08:45
Projectiles don't need to penetrate armour to harm the occupant. They can cause spalling on the interior, or simply transmit enough force to kill the occupant while maintaining the armour's structural integrity. The nice thing about tanks is that unlike personal armour they're roomy enough (odd thing to say about tanks eh?) that the crew is cushioned against impacts on the hull. There's a reason tankers wear head protection and that's for when impacts from hostile fire and movement cause the crew's soft bony heads to bounce off of hard metal and plastic fixtures and hulls, and occasionally each other. The space between a tanker and his tank is an additional layer of protection the tanker has over an armoured infantryman.

Where armour is contiguous with a body much of the energy transferred to the armour is also transferred to the body wearing that armour. As people like AEMMA will tell you, what you wear under your armour to absorb shock is just as important as the armour itself. Most modern sport armours, such football and hockey gear, don't need to prevent objects from going through the wearer and so the hard layer is usually just plastic; just enough to prevent things like spearing from hockey sticks and to spread the force of an impact around the absorbant underlayer.

In a sense the AP system of Warhammer 40k 4th edition covers this when more unsaved wounds are more likely to be caused by higher S weapons than an equivalent number of lower S weapons. But the lethality of the attack should also affect how well armour resists it, and that's where an ASM system is better representative of how the effect of armour is degraded by the lethality of an attack as well as its ability to defeat armour.

A better alternative to the current AP system and the various tired suggestions so far ennumerated in this thread is one I came up with recently: If a weapon's AP is greater than a model's Sv then any successful to wound rolls are re-rolled once instead of an armour save based on that Sv value. Similarly if a weapon's AP is greater than a model's cover save then any successful to hit rolls are re-rolled once instead of a cover save based on that terrain's Sv value.

For assault combat treat weapons that deny saves as having an AP value less than or equal to that of any target model's Sv rating. Treat weapons that do not deny saves as having an AP greater to that of the target's Sv rating. Treat heavy close combat weapons as though they deny armour saves if they wound with a 6 and likewise treat rending claws as though they deny armour saves if they hit with a 6.

If a model has an invulnerable saving throw, then all rolls to wound that are equal or greater than the invulnerable saving throw number are re-rolled once unless caused by weapons that ignore invulnerable saves. Naturally you have the choice of either an armour saving throw re-roll or invulnerable saving throw re-roll.

Note that this has three advantages: (1) retrocompatibility with the current crop of codicies requiring no modification of point values, no additional information, and so on, (2) encourages the same aggressive tactics by heavily armoured troops, (3) better integrates the roles of various combat-related attributes such as T and Sv than the current system, emphasizing the role of S in armour piercing without making it redundant as the WFB system does.

Zedric
04-04-2007, 08:51
Can a grenade kill 10 people in one go? yes it can it can simply explode amongst them and will turn them to little pieces of flesh and bone.
OF COURSE NOT. It simply eliminates the benefits of cover for units which are being assaulted. ;)

Ravenous
04-04-2007, 09:08
Think about this for a second:

Newton's third law is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every time you fire a weapon, there's an equal amount of energy going into that bullet heading downrange as there is going into you, the shooter, as recoil. If that energy were sufficient to rupture organs, shatter ribs, and spray bone into your lungs and heart after striking body armor, why are you able to fire them comfortably from the shoulder, even without body armor on? And no, it's not your rifle's mass absorbing the energy... that body armor weighs more than the rifle, and it's absorbing the impact, usually using a metal or ceramic plate to spread it out across an area noticeably larger than that of your rifle butt.


True because if a round is capable of knocking someone off their feet and said them sailing 10ft back 'hollywood style' the same would happen to the person firing the weapon.

Stormsender
04-04-2007, 09:35
Think about this for a second:

Newton's third law is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every time you fire a weapon, there's an equal amount of energy going into that bullet heading downrange as there is going into you, the shooter, as recoil. If that energy were sufficient to rupture organs, shatter ribs, and spray bone into your lungs and heart after striking body armor, why are you able to fire them comfortably from the shoulder, even without body armor on? And no, it's not your rifle's mass absorbing the energy... that body armor weighs more than the rifle, and it's absorbing the impact, usually using a metal or ceramic plate to spread it out across an area noticeably larger than that of your rifle butt.



The Kevlar Survivor's Club (http://52.128.225.198/SurvivorClub/) would like to disagree with you.

While bruising is common after body armor stops a bullet, one of the primary rating factors for body armor is "backface deformation"... essentially, the size of the dent a bullet leaves in whatever's on the other side of the armor when it's hit. The maximum acceptable by the NIJ is 1.73 inches / 44 millimeters, and most classes of body armor must be able to withstand six hits from two different types of ammunition without any more deformation than that. Class III body armor, the lighter type of "rigid" armor intended for combat, is required to be able to withstand six impacts of 7.62x51mm at approximately 50 feet / 15 meters with no deformations beyond the 1.73" maximum... this round is used in the M60 and M240B machine guns. Class IV is required to be able to stop a single armor-piercing .30-06 round, again without more than the 1.73" maximum.

I'm an EMT... among other things, my job involves doing CPR on dying patients. The compressions required to properly do CPR on an adult are approximately 4-5 centimeters deep... almost exactly the maximum allowable backface deformation for an NIJ-rated piece of body armor. I'm delivering close to a hundred of those compressions a minute directly over a patient's heart, and it's a life-saving technique. The myth that a single impact, or even a short series of impacts at random places on someone's torso will kill them through sheer kinetic energy alone is laughable.

The NIJ reports that police officers who wear their body armor routinely are 14 times more likely to survive a shooting incident than those who do not.

NIJ Selection and Application Guide to Police Body Armor (http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/169587.pdf)

Ballistic Resistance of Personal Body Armor, NIJ Standard 0101.04 (http://www.nlectc.org/pdffiles/0101.04RevA.pdf)

American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care: Adult Basic Life Support (http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/112/24_suppl/IV-19.pdf)

This is like the single most informative piece of real information I've read today, my appreciation.

leonmallett
04-04-2007, 09:45
...
A better alternative to the current AP system and the various tired suggestions so far ennumerated in this thread is one I came up with recently: If a weapon's AP is greater than a model's Sv then any successful to wound rolls are re-rolled once instead of an armour save based on that Sv value. Similarly if a weapon's AP is greater than a model's cover save then any successful to hit rolls are re-rolled once instead of a cover save based on that terrain's Sv value.

For assault combat treat weapons that deny saves as having an AP value less than or equal to that of any target model's Sv rating. Treat weapons that do not deny saves as having an AP greater to that of the target's Sv rating. Treat heavy close combat weapons as though they deny armour saves if they wound with a 6 and likewise treat rending claws as though they deny armour saves if they hit with a 6.

If a model has an invulnerable saving throw, then all rolls to wound that are equal or greater than the invulnerable saving throw number are re-rolled once unless caused by weapons that ignore invulnerable saves. Naturally you have the choice of either an armour saving throw re-roll or invulnerable saving throw re-roll.

Note that this has three advantages: (1) retrocompatibility with the current crop of codicies requiring no modification of point values, no additional information, and so on, (2) encourages the same aggressive tactics by heavily armoured troops, (3) better integrates the roles of various combat-related attributes such as T and Sv than the current system, emphasizing the role of S in armour piercing without making it redundant as the WFB system does.


Sorry to truncate your post, but the revised way to resolve saves/AP was very interesting. Due the the difference in game mechanic terms it took me a couple of readings to grasp, but I like this approach. With cover would you potentially re-roll to hit as well as getting the benefit of worn armour?

Nurglitch
04-04-2007, 10:01
Stormsender:

I think there's a difference between performing CPR and a shell striking an impermeable barrier rated to deform to the same depth as the thrust of CPR compresses someone's ribcage. The shape and force of the impact, for example.The impact is spread over a wider area, for example. You can observe this difference in the difference between ten kilograms of force pressing on a soup can and the same balanced on a nail, or at least on its affect on someone's flesh underneath the can or nail.

Much like there's more to the difference in forces shared between a gun, its mount, and its projectile. There's more at work than mass, for instance. Where the force is spread over a wider area you have at one end a stiff jab in the shoulder with a blunt gun-butt, and at the other end you have that same force concentrated into the tip of the bullet that has been accelerated by the same force as the recoil of the gun (not entirely the same as gravity plays a greater or lesser part depending where in the bullet's trajectory it strikes a target, yay plunging fire).

You have to think of a prepared gun operator bracing to fire and an unsuspecting target having their balance as shocked as their flesh when sustaining the impact of that gun's bullets. Different concentration of forces, different situations are either end of the weapon's effect, and different responses. You need more than Newtonian Laws to explain the physics of ballistics and recoil.

Carlos
04-04-2007, 10:19
Think about it in terms of thickness of material: An inch thick steel plate might not stop an Armour-piercing round but a metre of it would!

The AP system, based around Power Armour, means that a marine would shrug off a lasgun shot but be blown to bits by a lascannon. The dice-roll stays there to represent fate, luck, fluke and other factors of the chances of the lasgun hitting a weak spot. Marines are not invincible, just really really hard.

Ther AP system is fast, fluid and works. Modifiers (which is where this topic will go) are slow, methodical and dont.

Nurglitch
04-04-2007, 10:22
leonmallett:

Yes, that is intentional. It is an extension of the twin-linked rule and it would be best if cover rerolls and twin-linked re-rolls cancelled each other out. This also means that some invulnerable saves could be re-classified as 'dodge' saves and affect the to-hit roll like the invulnerable re-roll affects the to-wound roll.

Ravenous
04-04-2007, 10:46
It also depends on the weapon firing. It does not take up all the force but it does take more then needed (in most cases).

The reason the recoil is low is because its designed that way.

When you pull the trigger of an M16 the firing pin hits the percussion cap of the round and sends it down the barrel, the air generated by that pushes the bolt back into the buffer spring providing little recoil, the bolt then goes back foward and loads the next round.

The spring lowers the force because as Nurglitch said its blunt force rather then projectile. The person firing gets a jolt of force of rapidly moving compressed air, the guy on the wrong end of the weapon gets nailed by a pointy peice of metal traveling at high speeds.

I will admit that I am not knowledgable in the new types of armour available because when I was in the Army we were using the stuff from the 80s. The vests the reg force guys have now I imagine are far better.

The .50 Cal machine gun (usually vehicle mounted) on the other hand will turn you into paint no matter what you are wearing. In 40k I would compare the .50 cal machine gun to the heavy stubber. That gives you a scope of how powerful the weapons are.

And like I said for every measure there is a counter measure. You use body armour, and someone else will use hollow points or mark their bullets with Xs on the top so they spray on impact. You make power armour, and they will use plasma guns.

Nurglitch
04-04-2007, 10:47
Any arbitrary thickness of steel might not stop an armour piercing projectile. A thinner but harder plate may stop a projectile that passes through a thicker and softer plate. Likewise a projectile may spend little of its kinetic energy passing through an armour plate and do little damage to the content of that plating. Or it may transfer much of its kinetic energy to that plating and thus make that plating itself dangerous to its contents, via spalling, a shock wave, deformation, or even heating.

Ideally armour prevents damage to its contents and itself. Some armours, ablative armours, are designed to absorb energy and thus damage in lieu of the armoured. Other armours are designed to deflect energy using a shaped charge. Some armour, most body-armour, is designed to minimize perforation and spread the shock of impact over a wider area. Bones may be broken and you might be so bruised as to be laid up for the week, or you might just be winded, depending on the angle and force of impact, and even the body supporting the armour (being big and beefy like a cop or soldier helps). They'll save your life, if not preserve your comfort and health intact.

leonmallett
04-04-2007, 11:07
leonmallett:

Yes, that is intentional. It is an extension of the twin-linked rule and it would be best if cover rerolls and twin-linked re-rolls cancelled each other out. This also means that some invulnerable saves could be re-classified as 'dodge' saves and affect the to-hit roll like the invulnerable re-roll affects the to-wound roll.


How would TL (or similar rules such as Litanies of Hate) work with this since they already allow a re-roll? What about Living Ammo?

In principle I really like the idea as it makes cover a 'harder to hit' rather than 'harder to damage' situation (akin to 2nd edition but without the reams of modifiers).

Sorry if my questions are dragging the thread off-topic guys.

Sai-Lauren
04-04-2007, 11:23
Something for you all to consider - from the last time this thread came up.
http://www.warseer.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1333494&postcount=195

Voodoo Boyz
04-04-2007, 12:02
You're trying to apply real world physics to a game where we have rending clowns from outer space.

This does not compute.

narrativium
04-04-2007, 12:17
My problem with the AP system is that it's one value where I think it should be two. An AP of 3 cancels out Armour Saves of 3+ or worse, which makes sense if it's inferior armour. However, if the armour can withstand it, why is the weaker armour still so pathetic?

It gets to the point where I forget my Orks have saving throws, because they get shot by bolters so often - I have no problem with bolter fire being superior to (and therefore ignoring) Ork armour, but in close combat the armour's protecting them from fists, why's it still only 6+?
(Or is armour also taken into account with the model's Toughness?)

I know they've streamlined the system, I know adding extra values would be annoying - maybe they could have a WYSIWYG system of "the model's completely encased in armour - good save, the model's wearing nothing - poor save" and decide that a Marine in Power Armour can withstand shoota fire but the one not wearing his helmet rolls a 4+ save instead of a 3+, and a Sister Repentia's clothing can withstand lasguns, but she'll still be slaughtered because it's not covering anything.

(Factor in an Initiative modifier or a Dodge modifier or something for saves involving agility rather than fibre...)

WYSIWYG would then have to be reflected in the points value... you definitely get what you see.

WLBjork
04-04-2007, 12:18
Yep, the point I was about to make Sai-Lauren.

In addition, things need to be considered from a balance point of view - after all this is a game.

Lets take two weapons as an example. One is 30", S6, AP4 Heavy 3. The other is 30", S6, AP6, Heavy 4. Both cost the same

Which is better?

Perversely, the weapon better at penetrating personal armour is worst for killing MEQ, the predominant army. The second weapon is more desirable in the majority of situations players will find themselves in.

AP is extremely situational - an AP4 weapon is extremely useful against TEQ and GEQ but of limited use against MEQ.

ASM is much less situational - its always in effect. If we now compare 30" S6 -2 Heavy 3 to 30" S6 0 Heavy 4, the first weapon is always more desirable, so the second weapon can be priced more appropriately.

Finally, under ASM the "gap" between armour saves is less pronounced than under AP, which again means that IMO things are much easier to balance.

Storm Hunters
04-04-2007, 12:38
It gets to the point where I forget my Orks have saving throws, because they get shot by bolters so often - I have no problem with bolter fire being superior to (and therefore ignoring) Ork armour, but in close combat the armour's protecting them from fists, why's it still only 6+?
(Or is armour also taken into account with the model's Toughness?)

But the idea is that ork Armour is not covering the whole body, and is not that thick. which means that knives, chain blaids, or hands and fists will only be deflected off it one 6th of the time. Orks have assess to amour's that will stop half of combat attacks, and will even stop a bolter round if hit in the right place (on a 4+), but will be ripped apart by the heavy callerber of a heavy bolter, whether this bullet hits skin or 'evey armor. Normal orks are too poor to scrap together better amour, so it makes sense that there armor is worse than a guardsman vest and helmet. (and the same as the flack vest worn by jungle fighters.
AP is the best way of dealing with the real world mecanics of bullets. the only problem is that the percentage of soldier's with "good" armour is hugely over represented in the gaming world than the fluff of the 41st millennium, or prehaps the initial intentions of the developers.

Nurglitch
04-04-2007, 12:43
There is nothing un-computable about discussing how situations in games represent real situations. Reality is a good yardstick for any discussion of representation, especially if the computed conclusion is that the game should not represent such situations exactly. Indeed we have to apply reality if a fantasy is to make sense, much like we need to know what is being caricatured in order to recognize what the cartoon represents. Reality is always relevant to fantasy, if not to simulate, then to provide a ready-made semantics for whatever fantasy that representation is intended to evoke.

Perhaps the AP system does not accurately reflect how weapons work in reality, and some degree of inaccuracy (and even a downright error theory) may be acceptable if the trade-off is preferable or simulation is irrelevant to our aims in employing that game. Knowing how reality works lets us plot the deviation of simulation that a system of representation involves and thus compute what other concerns might drive the design.

Some people imagine that there is some necessary trade-off between complexity and simulation. This is a false dichotomy. Some simulations make effective representation of highly cartooned but relevant features while other simulations waste processing power with ineffective representation of all features no matter their relevance.

I suggest the AP system is not as effective as some alternatives, more effective than others, and neutral with regard to the ASM system which is equivalent to the to-hit and to-wound systems. Likewise neither the AP system nor the ASM system simulate well. They both map onto reality equally poorly, although in different ways. AP is too polar to represent reality, while ASM represents a regular progression where a logarythmic progression is indicated. They're both equally weak, and that's why proponents of neither system can convince the other that theirs is better.

Many highly realistic and highly effective, and very simple, game mechanics exist as alternatives, but people won't notice them if they're stuck in a false set of false dichotomies such as ASM/AP, Simulation/Effectiveness, Vague Predicate/Undefined Predicate. That is, unless they bother to actually analyze what the design parameters are and compute the space that the AP system should cover. When people do this it becomes obvious that ASM doesn't fill it either for reasons of cinematic representation and of effective game procedures.

So yeah, it computes. You just have to know how.

Sai-Lauren
04-04-2007, 12:52
You're trying to apply real world physics to a game where we have rending clowns from outer space.

This does not compute.
The 40k universe still has to obey the laws of physics, even if you don't actually mention them. Just because it's a fictional universe, doesn't mean it gets a free pass - just that you have to have a reason to get around them.

Spell_of_Destruction
04-04-2007, 13:05
I realise that the point of this thread IS to discuss the realism of the two systems but I don't really see the point. Such arguments are ridiculous considering we are talking about a game that makes no attempt towards realism.

The best argument for ditching the AP system n favour of ASMs is that it creates a far better game balance. Simple as that.

Nurglitch
04-04-2007, 13:14
So explain how ASM is more 'balanced' than AP. Because I don't think that's true or simple to prove. I'm not inclined to take anyone's word for it without proof.

Spell_of_Destruction
04-04-2007, 13:39
Simple.

It is more balanced because each armour type is affected by each weapon type in a uniform manner. A 4+ save is merely one point better than a 5+ save, a 3+ save merely one point better than a 4+ save and so on.

I do not recall the same fixation with 3+ armour saves in second edition that there is in 3rd/4th ed. This is because 3+ armour saves simply provided better protection than weaker armour types rather than making the wearer prcatically immune to small arms fire.

This isn't just about 3+ armour saves though. Let's take a squad of marines firing at a) a squad of Guardians and b) a squad of Fire Warriors (or Dire Avengers, however you like it). Because of the bolter's AP 5 and the Fire Warriors/Aspect warriors 4+ saves the marines will kill twice as many guardians as they do the other troop types. Under the old 2nd ed rules the 4+ save would simply save 1/6 more of the fire warriors/dire avengers.

Given how the majority of tactical thinking and army composition in 3rd/4th ed is dominated by armour saves and AP values I think the burden of proof is on the advocates of the AP system to prove that IT is balanced, not the other way around. It is actually quite simple to show exactly why the ASM system is balanced. The massive leap in effectiveness of each armour type in 3rd/4th ed is not easy to balance and to be honest I think that he development team has ultimately failed to resolve this since 3rd ed came out.

Myst
04-04-2007, 14:05
The standard military kevlar armour we have today cannot withstand a M16 5.56 45 calibar round or an Ak-47 7.62 45 calibar round from any distance. In fact they cant even stop a 9mm round from 100m away. Its meant to take on shrapnel and small rounds from LONG distances. Ultimately its just meant to be "stab proof" but there are knives with diamonds woven into the tips to go through kevlar.


Actually, if I recall correctly, modern kevlar armor serves no real protection against even normal bladed weapons. There is armor for that but it isn't kevlar.

Ianos
04-04-2007, 14:51
Simple.

It is more balanced because each armour type is affected by each weapon type in a uniform manner. A 4+ save is merely one point better than a 5+ save, a 3+ save merely one point better than a 4+ save and so on.


------Uniformity does not bring balance, what it instead does is diminish tactical thinking. Reducing weapons to an ASM system will simply mean that with x points you deliver y damage -z(armour) which is totally streamlined but will not create a game full of measures and countermeasures like special weapons.

I do not recall the same fixation with 3+ armour saves in second edition that there is in 3rd/4th ed. This is because 3+ armour saves simply provided better protection than weaker armour types rather than making the wearer prcatically immune to small arms fire.

This isn't just about 3+ armour saves though. Let's take a squad of marines firing at a) a squad of Guardians and b) a squad of Fire Warriors (or Dire Avengers, however you like it). Because of the bolter's AP 5 and the Fire Warriors/Aspect warriors 4+ saves the marines will kill twice as many guardians as they do the other troop types. Under the old 2nd ed rules the 4+ save would simply save 1/6 more of the fire warriors/dire avengers.

Given how the majority of tactical thinking and army composition in 3rd/4th ed is dominated by armour saves and AP values I think the burden of proof is on the advocates of the AP system to prove that IT is balanced, not the other way around. It is actually quite simple to show exactly why the ASM system is balanced. The massive leap in effectiveness of each armour type in 3rd/4th ed is not easy to balance and to be honest I think that he development team has ultimately failed to resolve this since 3rd ed came out.

-------With the ASM system Eldar for example would simply load up on scatter lasers and marines on auto-cannons and even more assault cannons than ever. All that would be needed to kill almost anything in the game and with no real save would be as many str6-7 shots as possible. Also this does not even remotely reflect the "real" world even in the 41st millenium. There will always be measures and counter-measures, piercing and slashing and bludgeoning damage, area of effect damage that has low or high strenght and has shrapnels that penetrate or not. ASM cannot reflect that no matter how we put it.
The problem with the AP system is again the foundamental problem of this game: 65% plays MEQ. As such people will simply choose anti-MEQ weapons 9out of 10 times and this is what creates a sense of imbalance to the people playing the game, especially when they come up with an army that isn't MEQ and has tons of anti-MEQ weaponry but on very affordable troops.

Reinnon
04-04-2007, 15:14
hmm, didn't expect this many responses to the thread :)

Its an interesting discussion i must admit, the purpose of this thread is not the discussion of the laws of physics in a gaming concept world, but more of a discussion in how realistic the AP system is as a counter argument to the negitive opinions on it.

but all in all, a very good discussion, i learnt a couple of things

Spell_of_Destruction
04-04-2007, 16:10
-------With the ASM system Eldar for example would simply load up on scatter lasers and marines on auto-cannons and even more assault cannons than ever. All that would be needed to kill almost anything in the game and with no real save would be as many str6-7 shots as possible. Also this does not even remotely reflect the "real" world even in the 41st millenium. There will always be measures and counter-measures, piercing and slashing and bludgeoning damage, area of effect damage that has low or high strenght and has shrapnels that penetrate or not. ASM cannot reflect that no matter how we put it.
The problem with the AP system is again the foundamental problem of this game: 65% plays MEQ. As such people will simply choose anti-MEQ weapons 9out of 10 times and this is what creates a sense of imbalance to the people playing the game, especially when they come up with an army that isn't MEQ and has tons of anti-MEQ weaponry but on very affordable troops.

I don't see why an ASM system would diminish tactical thinking. The current system isn't exactly rocket science. It's a rock, paper, scissors system. Frankly I won't be sorry when (if) it is eventually done away with.

My experiences of 2nd edition (and I'm not saying we should go back to it, some aspects of 2nd were an abomination) do not support your argument in the slightest. Any infantry unit short of terminators would die if it stood out in the open. Marines were tough but they couldn't simply walk through small arms fire as if they were being peppered by bbs. It was a higher powered game and tactical errors were punished severely. Which is not something that always happens in 4th ed.

I don't accept your point about players simply loading up on str 6-7 weaponry as I would expect any ASM system to be like the 2nd ed system not the WFHB system so the strength of the weapon and the ASM would not be linked (scatter lasers for example had only a -1 save modifier in second edition making them effctive light infantry killers).

I actually agree with you on your point that the main problem with the AP system is that the majority of armies are marines, but you simply defeat your original argument. Marines are always going to be popular given the current system. Maybe if each army had a range of heavy, medium and light infantry the AP system would work superbly. It just doesn't work in 40k.

VenrableOne
04-04-2007, 17:07
With AP you have your armor either fails or saves.

No it doesn't.

Once again, with AP, your armour either fails or has a chance of either saving or failing.

Armour doesn't save automatically.

Note to self: Turn everything into a ten page essay so that there is no chance for misinterpretation.

Let me explain what I meant, it wasn't a comment about the chance to save. It was about how both sides see their view as the right one.


They're both equally weak, and that's why proponents of neither system can convince the other that theirs is better.

Its a debate about personal taste and no-one can tell you what you should like or dislike. This may as well be about coke vs pepsi or pc vs mac etc...

If we really wanted a realistic representation of weapons and armor we would have a much different system. They would be rated according to their ability to penetrate/deflect different effects. Thermal, kinetic, piercing, resistance to the warp and what ever else you can come up with. It would be a monster of a system.

Be careful when you start throwing the word realism around, you just may get it.

Dooglebug
04-04-2007, 17:40
I play 40k an awful lot less since the introduction of the AP system. I agree that the main reason to change it is game balance, so weapon/armour effectiveness is a smooth progression rather than the more or less two step AP system.

I appreciate some of the reasoning to moving to AP, it gave simplicity and prehaps more importantly a greater feeling that power armour gave appreciable protection. I think the second point is important. 3+ saves are actually worth it nowadays.

A traditional ASM system as understood by most people (as in WFB strength based system) degrades a save too quickly. It needs to be non linear. A simple solution could be provided by a penetration/armour lookup table comparable to the strength/toughness one. With Penetration from 0-10 (10 high) you could also use Penetration instead of Strength against vehicles prehaps. Regardless the point is an ASM system need not slow down play and there are various ways to implement one in a way that is more balance than the current system.

With regards the physics/logic of it. Let us assume the fundamental prior of the ap system, that a shot with a particular pentration, hitting a certain thickness of armour will or won't penetrate without any uncertainty, holds. If we approximate that a portion of the body is covered by a uniform strength of armour, then we logically arrive at the current AP system; the shot is either strong enough to penetrat and no save is taken or it isn't but there is a chance it could hit an unproteced area.

The protection afforded by power armour for example won't be uniform on all parts of the body from all angles though, different parts will have different thicknesses (it's safe to assume the breast plate and shoulder pads offer more protection that the gauntlets) and additionally, armour hit at a shallower angle is effectively thicker and more likely to be glanced. The up shot is the greater the penetration of a shot, the greater portion of the armour that can be penetrated when hit. You are going to want to use some sort of ASM system if you want to represent this.

Egaeus
04-04-2007, 17:44
hmm, didn't expect this many responses to the thread :)

Its an interesting discussion i must admit, the purpose of this thread is not the discussion of the laws of physics in a gaming concept world, but more of a discussion in how realistic the AP system is as a counter argument to the negitive opinions on it.

but all in all, a very good discussion, i learnt a couple of things

The first thing you have to remember is that 40K (and Fantasy) are games, not simulations. So in one sense "realism" gets tossed out right there. But then we argue that the game is representative of fictional war and this gives us a sense of how things should work.

I'm sure others have mentioned and will continue to mention that there is a huge amount of abstraction in the game to make it playable. So we could look at the AP system as a pure game mechanic rather than any type of realistic system. On that note I would ask: why do people question the AP system but no one ever seems to question the Strength-versus-Toughness and Wounds system (this isn't absolutely true, as I've seen a few alternatives presented before)? Do we find some more sense of internal logic in that system so that we don't try to determine whether or not it is "realistic"?

Personally, I like the AP system. I like the fact that AP is decoupled from the Strength of the weapon, thus giving us more factors to play with from a design perspective.

The problem IMHO is in the implementation of the system. Most basic infantry weapons are AP5, which denies the armour save of most infantry. A lot of people claim the disjoint comes in the change from a 4+ to 3+ save. The thing is, this change has the exact same step value as any other incremental change in the range. The reason that it's such a gap is because there is a high prevalence of weaponry that has AP4. Also, there is the fact that this AP also tends to be the break point between heavy multifire weapons (I would suggest epitomized in the Heavy Bolter) and anti-tank weaponry which tends to be single-shot weaponry.

I could also make comments about the efficiency of the points system, but that is a whole other issue altogether.

Marshal Augustine
04-04-2007, 17:56
I do understand the point the OP is making. However, as a game AP is much quicker and easier to use then mod systems. Also, I propose that to make a completely realistic sci-fi system we add the folowing:

-rules for deep striking troops burning up in the atmosphere

used to be the lost in the warp.. in 3rd ed roll snake eyes on a Ds'ing unit and you lost them.


-rules for troops in non-sealed armor catching the alien germs and dying horribly and quickly.

- you should try the hazardous environment tules for 40K... that always adds a twist to your games.


-why are all battles fought in worlds with an earth type atmoshphere? Wouldn't more of them be on hostile worlds where shrapnel hitting your armor and causing a breach is a death sentence?

- again , hazardous environment is your friend


Archonbrujah


ok, now back on topic. I actually like the armour system , and I feel it makes sense. The only thing I wish where different are terminators... I just with they would be even harder than they are, but meh.... what can I do.:D

lanrak
04-04-2007, 17:59
Hi all.
I would first like to say I agree with Nurglich.
ASM is fine for WH,which is mainly the interaction of simple weapons and armour.(Mainly kenetic energy only.)

However 40k weapons and armour could be compared to 'similar function' current weapons and armour.And wether you actualy realise it or not ,all humans base thier perceptions on reality.
If 40k is 'just fantasy ' why not write the rules and codexes in the native language of the races?
*&^*&%$%&*$$£%%)(*&(*%$&)(^^$£^&%.There you go tau codex done.LOL.
BECAUSE real people in the real world want to play the game.
SO as reguards to gameplay reality has alot to do with the enjoyment we get from a game.
If the game play has too many WTF moments ,we loose our 'narrative' of the game.
As Nurglich siad the current AP and ASM systems are not the most efficient or
the most simple simulation.
I also agree that simiulating the effects of real world physics does not need to be over complicated.
if weapons are given a dammage rating.the potential maxumum dammage to a soft target.
And then the armour/resitance to dammage is simply deducted from this value to give the actual dammage transfered to the soft target.

SO hittyness -protectiness=hurtiness.In simple Ork speak.
This means NO modifiers or extra information,just a straight comparison between 2 values.
(That can have modifiers aplied for more acurate similation as required.)
Not exacly over difficult.And this does allow the representation of all weapons and armour.
And we do not have to limit values to correspond to a D6 roll!!!


TTFN
Lanrak.

The Song of Spears
04-04-2007, 18:04
The idea behind that question is, I think, the core of why people think the AP system is flawed: They see it as armour works vs armour doesn't work... which isn't actually backed up by the way the rules work.

If your armour was an automatic save, then that would be the case. But it isn't.

An armour save is merely a chance that the armour might prevent the wound.

The AP system simply adds a level at which the armour you're wearing has no chance of stopping the shot.


There is never a point, under the AP system, where armour will always stop the shot. Your armour either might stop the shot, or will never stop the shot, depending on how powerful said shot actually is.

Which seems perfectly realistic to me...


I'm quite the military buff, so I thought I threw my two cents in for a change.

In real life, armour piercing projectile have an entirelly different design, composition and working, than say, an anti-personnel one. For instance, armour piercing bullets are often denser than normal ones (since the denser the bullet, more easilly it can penetrate other materials) and have sharper tips (which facilitate penetration, while blunt projectiles have more "knock-down" power).

Even today, so-called "bullet-proof" vests are rated according to the round they can stop, the heaviest of those can stop a 7,62mm NATO round from PENETRATING the vest (the damage done by the bullet hitting the vest is not avoided, people using bullet-proof vests are usually saved from a bullet wound, but often suffer a broken rib or two).

Bullet resistant materials are very resistant to stress, but when you add anough stress (say, a small caliber cannon shell hitting a kevlar vest), the material will break down and let the bullet pass through. How much stress the vest can take (and therefore, how powerfull the bullet it can stop) is dictated by both the material of which it is made and of how it is built (kevlar fibres are often interweaved to improve resistance, and multiple layers offer more protection, at the cost of weight).

I have no problem conceptualizing the different armour saves as different categories of protection, and weapons with different APs as weapons using ammunition with varied power. A Tau armoured suit (Sv4+) would be a little bit better than today's heaviest suits, capable of absorbing practicly all small arms fire, but an autocannon (AP4) would be powerfull enough to break down the armoured components of the suit.

I really like both of these comments. They are, IMO, very much correct in regards to 40k

But 40k is a dice game as well...

So with the same lack of reasoning as to why a Castle in chess can only go straight and a bishop can only go diagonal, the same applies to 40k when needed

Based on the level of advancement in a army, their average supplies, and weapons types, you have two main factors in 40k.

The average soilder's gun's armour penetrating capability, and the average armour worn.

All of that in direct regards to a D6...

so the average on a D6 for saving would be a 4 or better, that means the average armour in the 40k universe must be 4+ to have a 50% chance to stop the average troop weapon. So the average weapon must be AP5 to allow for the average armour to have a 50% change to stop the shot.

And so it goes from there. Better than average is 3+ armour, and amazing is 2+ armour. All based on the percentages of a D6 based system, taking into consideration the fluff as much as possible.

Keichi246
04-04-2007, 18:23
Simple.
It is more balanced because each armour type is affected by each weapon type in a uniform manner. A 4+ save is merely one point better than a 5+ save, a 3+ save merely one point better than a 4+ save and so on.


And I think this is the core fallacy of the ASM argument. As has been documented in this thread - weapons and defenses do not necessarily scale linearly. Many weapons notice a severe degradation depending on the type of surface they hit. Many weapons are capable of penetrating and significantly wounding through a certain level of protection - but then see their damage output drop SIGNIFICANTLY once they hit something they can't penetrate.

I used to be an ASM promoter myself until I took a step back and realized just how much 40k abstracts things. People can't really run from outside pistol range and into "hit him with my fists" range in a few seconds. When a Marine, or a Eldar, or whatever, fires his weapon - it is not a single shot going downrange. It is representative of a bunch of shots - some of which may be getting close enough to do damage to the target.

Hits aren't necessarily *hits* - they are representative of the chance that some of the shots fired that turn are close enough to actually significantly damage the enemy. Wounds aren't actually *wounds* - they represent "damage significant enough to render the target non-combat effective". And armor saves aren't ARMOR saves - they merely represent the effect that the combat equipment the model is carrying has on their abiltiy to withstand that "damage significant enough to possibly render a target non-combat capable".

Is the armor of a guardsman that much tougher than that of an ork, or less tough than a Fire Warrior? Not really. But the average Guardsman probably is also carrying a personal medkit that the Ork isn't - which might have some bandages for that nasty shrapnel wound; while that Fire Warrior may have a better medical kit with better painkillers, etc. Yeah; they could have specific rules for that extra gear - or they could've rounded it into the abstraction by saying "this guys equipment makes him about this much tougher versus this class of shot." AKA the AP system.

ASMs are also JUST as hard to balance points cost wise. Technically - the cost of the weapon should take in to account: the "skill" of the model using it, its strength, its armor modification, how multiples of said weapon effect the enemy, etc; *as well as* its effects on the enemy it is used against. At least for "pure" balance. Heavy bolters should be costed high versus GEq armnies and low versus MEqs in a "truly" balanced game.

But that would get WAY too ugly to adjudicate - So to make life easier for army construction - they put fixed costs on things. Which means that a certain ammount of "imbalance" is already built into the system. So there will always be weapons that are slightly better than others.



Given how the majority of tactical thinking and army composition in 3rd/4th ed is dominated by armour saves and AP values I think the burden of proof is on the advocates of the AP system to prove that IT is balanced, not the other way around. It is actually quite simple to show exactly why the ASM system is balanced. The massive leap in effectiveness of each armour type in 3rd/4th ed is not easy to balance and to be honest I think that he development team has ultimately failed to resolve this since 3rd ed came out.

I agree with you - to a point. I disagree that the ASM would be any better though. The problem with with the current system is not neccessarily the guns - but a variety of other factors - which only enhances the effects of the AP system on guns.

As far as I can see, where the balance of the current system breaks down is the value of the basic Marine. The powered armor marine is supposed to be an elite trooper, surrounded by extremely protective armor, weilding extremely deadly weapons. The problem is - their current points value is way too low - making marines too "common" on the battlefield. This broke the system by making there be "too many marines" - both on the battlefield and in the metagame.

This was sort of intentional. I vaguely remember reading a designer's comment back in the beginning of third edition that explained about the move to the AP system. The AP system is actually more realistic about 90% of the time. Weapons that penetrate armor tend to do so very significantly, and weapons that are stopped tend to be stopped rather cold for minimal damage; in real life The problem is the law of averages. Because 1/3 of the shots that wound a marine kill him with the AP system, Marines "in the game" are more vulnerable than they "should" be. To make up for this effect - the designers were forced to reduce the point costs of the marines; to increase the model count so that they would remain "competitive." The problem is - they probably went a touch too far...

Honestly - I would raise the points value of every powered armored figure by about 25 points, give them an additional wound, increase the cost of all AP3 or better weaponry by about 50%, raise the rate of fire of the bolter class weapons, make them pinning, and lower the leadership (and leadership modifying abilies) of all the non elite troops.

You'd see fewer, tougher MEQs roaming the battelfield. The lower leadership and pinning effects of the bolters would reduce the incoming firepower that the marines are taking (increasing their relative survivability); helping them accomplish their missions. Suddenly - the AP3/4 "cliff" is balanced - not by the guns - but by the point costs and the other factors.

Because - in the end - the AP system is not the cause of the balance issues - it is merely an agravating factor. *Anything* can be brought pretty close to being balanced if it is priced appropriately for it's rules set....

Kegluneq
04-04-2007, 18:29
AP as it stands is a fast, smooth system of play that roughly correllates to how effective armour would be in real physics, and that's fine.

I would agree that there are too many AP5 weapons out there, but then there are also too many troops (and guns) so much more powerful than anything that uses a 5+ save. Ah well.

Zerosoul
04-04-2007, 19:05
As far as I'm concerned, half the problem is that anti-infantry weaponry is so cheap. I don't even think it's that power armor is so prevalent - that's a metagame problem and most wargames couldn't stand up to one army being so overwhelmingly popular(ask Warmachine players what they would think if everyone played Cryx or Khador) and there's nothing that can be done except nerfing Marines, which wouldn't be fair. No, the problem is the sheer cheapness of anti-infantry weapons. I thank my lucky stars every day that most people haven't realized the sheer power of the humble Heavy Bolter, and not just because I play aspect-heavy Eldar. Think about how cheap a Heavy Bolter is for your Imperial army, and the number you can field. My friend Novaweim used to test out a Heavy Bolter spam list, and there's not much that can stand up to it, because HBs are so cheap that it's child's play to add, say, an Annhilator or a couple of AC speeders to handle all your anti-tank needs. The sheer volume of shots is capable of wiping most non-powered armor armies from the board in a tide of blood, and even Marines start limping when you shoot twenty or thirty HB shots at them, with half or so of those being twin-linked thanks to lots of razorbacks.

I really, honestly think that the problem is that heavy weapons are too cheap for a lot of armies. If there was more exchange of firepower between, say, Avenger catapults and regular old bolters instead of scatter lasers, lascannons, and heavy bolters, things would seem a lot more reasonable than they do now.

Reinnon
04-04-2007, 19:36
i was not making a game balence point in suport of AP.

while i am fairly happy with the idea of AP, whether or not it is done correctly is another question all together

Lyinar
04-04-2007, 20:22
As far as the example of Dragonskin armour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Skin_body_armor) goes, there have been tests done on it with deformable targets, and several of them have been televised, most notably on Mail Call and Futureweapons. When a standard kevlar vest was put on the target, it stopped the bullet but left one hell of a dent. When the Dragonskin was worn, it stopped bullets that cut through the kevlar, without deforming the clay target.

The grenade-smothering test that they did pretty much annihilated the armour itself, but the padding behind the armour and the dummy behind that were both completely undamaged.

So the "kinetic energy will still kill you" argument is not necessarily true.

Shrike30
04-04-2007, 20:55
I think there's a difference between performing CPR and a shell striking an impermeable barrier rated to deform to the same depth as the thrust of CPR compresses someone's ribcage. The shape and force of the impact, for example.The impact is spread over a wider area, for example. You can observe this difference in the difference between ten kilograms of force pressing on a soup can and the same balanced on a nail, or at least on its affect on someone's flesh underneath the can or nail.

When you're talking about Class III or IV armor (that is, semirigid or rigid armor capable of reliably stopping rifle ammunition... what we might call "combat armor" rather than "concealable armor"), a stopped round is impacting a metal or ceramic strike plate mounted in the armor. This distributes the impact over a noticeably larger area than the head of a nail, or even a soup can... strike plates tend to be close to the width of your torso.


Much like there's more to the difference in forces shared between a gun, its mount, and its projectile. There's more at work than mass, for instance. Where the force is spread over a wider area you have at one end a stiff jab in the shoulder with a blunt gun-butt, and at the other end you have that same force concentrated into the tip of the bullet that has been accelerated by the same force as the recoil of the gun (not entirely the same as gravity plays a greater or lesser part depending where in the bullet's trajectory it strikes a target, yay plunging fire).

The discussion is not, however, if there's a difference in the amount of damage a gun butt does to your shoulder compared to a bullet in the same location. The discussion is whether a bullet that has been stopped by body armor, and had it's energy dissipated out over a significantly larger area than that of a rifle butt is capable of pulping organs and spraying bone fragments into your body's core.


You have to think of a prepared gun operator bracing to fire and an unsuspecting target having their balance as shocked as their flesh when sustaining the impact of that gun's bullets. Different concentration of forces, different situations are either end of the weapon's effect, and different responses. You need more than Newtonian Laws to explain the physics of ballistics and recoil.

A rifle butt transmits the energy of a rifle bullet over an area approximately the size of your palm into your shoulder. There's no real noticeable effect in the long run. A rifle bullet hitting an unarmored target transmits the energy over an area equal to it's caliber or greater (as the round expands, deforms, or fragments)... obviously, this puts holes in people. A rifle bullet hitting an armored target on a strike plate transmits that energy over an area roughly equal to that of the strike plate... significantly larger than that of a rifle butt.


When you pull the trigger of an M16 the firing pin hits the percussion cap of the round and sends it down the barrel, the air generated by that pushes the bolt back into the buffer spring providing little recoil, the bolt then goes back foward and loads the next round.

The spring lowers the force because as Nurglitch said its blunt force rather then projectile. The person firing gets a jolt of force of rapidly moving compressed air, the guy on the wrong end of the weapon gets nailed by a pointy peice of metal traveling at high speeds.

The M16 fires a 62 grain slug at about 900 meters per second.

A Marlin .45-70 puts a 300 grain slug downrange at about 600 meters per second (imparting slightly more than double the kinetic energy in the process, and more than three times the momentum), and as it's manually operated, there is no spring to buffer the recoil. While it will definitely get your attention when you fire it, there's no bruising involved if you've mounted the rifle properly.

Class III body armor weighs more than most rifles, and distributes the momentum of a rifle bullet over a larger area than a rifle butt will. A great deal of the kinetic energy present is wasted as heat. I'm sorry, folks... there's no pulped organs or sprays of bone fragments to be found here... it's a myth. If body armor produced that much damage on the other side, the military would stick with issuing flak jackets for fragment protection and let the bullets just pass clean through... the wound would be a lot cleaner, it'd bleed less, and it'd be easier to fix with surgery.

Drasriath
04-04-2007, 21:08
Exactly.

The standard military kevlar armour we have today cannot withstand a M16 5.56 45 calibar round or an Ak-47 7.62 45 calibar round from any distance. In fact they cant even stop a 9mm round from 100m away. Its meant to take on shrapnel and small rounds from LONG distances. Ultimately its just meant to be "stab proof" but there are knives with diamonds woven into the tips to go through kevlar.

With tanks almost every shot from an anti tank weapon will either kill you or cripple you. And in the case of spall rounds (needle tipped missile that once it hits a tank will punch through the armour and spray liquid hot metal all over the crew and everything else inside) it will do both.

With 40k its based in the extremely distant future and they have made up materials, so it is difficult to say what could do what. However I do know that every time there is a measure there is a counter measure.

Considering 40 weapons like the plasma gun that fire super heated liquid uranium with is like firing mini suns at people, In theroy a plasma gun should be able to blow up a land raider in one shot.

Usually anytime people say "The AP system is unrealistic" I just shake my head and say its 39 thousand years in the future and based on made up history for plastic men. Its kind of like everyone saying 500 years ago that the world was flat.

Not totally correct. Most modern military armor is composed mostly of ceramics, and it can withstand rifle rounds fired from quite close range. Infact, most of the deaths in the Iraq war have stemmed from shots to the neck, because soldiers generally remove the armored collar to their vests, because they find it too restrictive and hot. As was stated before, however, it can only withstand a shot or two from such a weapon, because the alignment of the fibers in the armor plate is damaged with impact, meaning it will be weaker against consecutive hits.

However, body armor in current times isn't meant to keep someone up and fighting. It's meant to keep them /alive/. Even when a trauma plate is hit by a bullet it can only disperse the force so much, meaning gunshots can still cause broken bones and severe bruising, shots to a helmet can, and usually do cause concussions, all of these conditions are debilitating, but usually not fatal.

Also, Kevlar /isn't/ meant to be stab proof. It's meant to be cut resistant, which is why they're struggling so hard to replace it.

What makes the system unrealistic is that no armor has a 'for certain' failing point. It depends heavily on variables like range, the firer's position, the projectile's point of impact, what the bullet has to pass through to hit the victim, even temperature can effect the effectiveness of body armor, even FMJ (full metal jacket) ammunition, made for penetrating armor will not always penetrate in the ideal circumstances. I think a system closer to fantasy where armor saves are degraded to the point of failing is a better system because it takes into account the fact that body armor's failing point isn't something as static, it takes into account the power of the weapon and uses that to determine how likely the armor is to stop it, rather than a black and white, 'you get a save or you don't'

Also, what's wrong with taking into account actual penetration bonuses or penalties to account for certain weapons being better against armor? These arguments make it seem as though both can't be incorporated... just like fantasy, you can add 'armor penetrating' guns that further decrease the save, or guns that don't penalize as much as their strength would suggest.

As for Marines, how would it nerf them? Their 3+ saves would still offer more protection than anyone else's basic armor. Either way, their points could be adjusted accordingly.

At any rate, any time you argue physics in a Sci-fi setting God kills a kitten. Let's all think of the kittens

On a side note:
The AK-47 rounds you mentioned are pretty easy to stop as far as things go, they carry alot less force than 5.56 NATO (.223), because they're fashioned more like a pistol, relying on slinging a heavy projectile at a lower velocity, but since they carry much less powder, they have less impact force. The advantage of the heavier projectile is that it's less effected by soft cover. What confuses people about that comparison is they think AK-47's fire a 7.62 NATO round (.308), when infact it's a Russian bullet that's significantly shorter.

Shrike30
04-04-2007, 21:18
Maybe video speaks stronger than words or reason. Lyinar reminded me that Pinnacle Armor (the folks who make Dragon Skin armor) have videos on their site of some of the shoot tests of their armor.

It's worth noting that Dragon Skin armor is the first flexible body armor that I'm aware of to be certified as Class III (capable of stopping multiple 7.62x51mm rounds) with less than 1.73 inches of backface deformation. There's no steel plate involved here, folks, and the impact is still dissipated by the armor to the point where it isn't considered a major threat to the wearer.

Scroll to the bottom for a number of videos. (http://www.pinnaclearmor.com/body-armor/dragon-skin.php) Note especially the top two, where several dozen 7.62x39mm rounds are fired into a vest put on a test dummy. Note how little movement is imparted upon the target. Seriously, folks... there's energy involved, but not the kind of energy that the pulped-organs crowd is blithering about.


On a side note:
The AK-47 rounds you mentioned are pretty easy to stop as far as things go, they carry alot less force than 5.56 NATO (.223), because they're fashioned more like a pistol, relying on slinging a heavy projectile at a lower velocity, but since they carry much less powder, they have less impact force. The advantage of the heavier projectile is that it's less effected by soft cover. What confuses people about that comparison is they think AK-47's fire a 7.62 NATO round (.308), when infact it's a Russian bullet that's significantly shorter.

"Like a pistol" is not exactly an accurate depiction of the 7.62x39mm round. An AK-47 fires a 123 grain projectile at 710 meters per second. The newer Mk 262 5.56x45mm fires a 77 grain projectile at about 770 meters per second... less than an 8% loss of velocity. Even with the lighter, faster M855 round (about 900 meters per second), you only lose about 20% of your velocity by switching to a 7.62x39mm. In both cases, you're adding a significant amount of slug weight, which is the primary contributor to the 7.62x39mm's ability to punch through cover... while the 5.56 has plenty of kinetic energy, its lighter weight significantly reduces its momentum. 7.62x39mm has roughly 1.5x as much kinetic energy and nearly double the momentum of a 5.56x45mm round.

When compared to the usual 300-360 meter per second velocity of a 9x19mm round, or the 260-320 meter per second velocity of a .45 ACP, "like a pistol" seems a pretty odd choice of words.

Drasriath
04-04-2007, 21:48
That's right, but in layman's terms, aside from 5.7mm pistols, they fire heavier, usually higher caliber projectiles than rifles at lower speeds, same is true of the 7.62 Russian round versus most other rifle rounds because of it's relative low speed, and heavy projectile compared to it's amount of propellant.

Either way, the .223 is considered a balistically superior round. It has better accuracy, range and PoK. That's why the new AKs all use the 5.45x39 instead of the more dated 7.62.

Shrike30
04-04-2007, 22:52
What you said was "they carry alot less force than 5.56 NATO (.223)... they have less impact force," which made little sense given that the 7.62x39 distinctly outperforms it in terms of both kinetic energy and momentum. The ratio of slug weight to velocity found in the 7.62x39mm is quite close to that found in the 7.62x51mm, with some variants of the 7.62x51mm opting even more towards "mass" than "velocity." 9x19mm, to contrast, frequently uses a heavier slug than the 7.62x39mm, and fires it at roughly half the speed. I didn't find it to be a valid comparison.

With a .22-caliber assault rifle (M16, AK74, or whatever you prefer), it's noticeably easier to carry large quantities of ammunition, manufacture vast amounts of ammunition (using a slug that weighs half as much is a big help), and ship it across the world... everything else aside, the .22-caliber range is logistically easier than the .30-caliber range. Ballistically, the accuracy potential of the 5.56mm is noticeably better, but the vast majority of combat casualties from small arms come from engagements within 150 meters, where that maximum possible accuracy plays a very small part in the overall combat effectiveness of a round, and issues like it's ability to go through the door of a Humvee matter a lot more.

The Mk 262 round I mentioned earlier is a 24% heavier, 15% slower 5.56mm round currently seeing use in Iraq on a conditional basis. Initial reports of the effectiveness of the slower, heavier round have been good, and both the Army and Marines are looking at getting more of it for their troops. There's also interest in 6.5mm and 6.8mm rounds as the next potential cartridge for the US military, as they're finding the 5.56mm doesn't have enough energy at longer ranges, and won't reliably stop a target at closer ranges.

Level III armor is supposed to be able to stop fairly conventional 5.56, 5.45 and 7.62x39mm rounds. In order to stop rounds like the M855 5.56 or the 7.62x39mm PS steel core round, you need to move up to Level IV armor.

RapidKiller
05-04-2007, 01:21
The Kevlar Survivor's Club (http://52.128.225.198/SurvivorClub/) would like to disagree with you.



Maby so but theres no club where people go to say that their Kevlar failed because when the Kevlar fails...

archonbrujah
05-04-2007, 01:45
Marshal Augustine, that was a tongue in cheek attempt at sarcasm.

Ultimately the point was the AP sysytem is a fine abstraction for a game that skimps on reality, as it must to be playable.

But yeah, Terminators are not as fun as when they had the old 2d6 save and refractor fields :)

Archonbrujah

Nurglitch
05-04-2007, 03:47
It is more balanced because each armour type is affected by each weapon type in a uniform manner. A 4+ save is merely one point better than a 5+ save, a 3+ save merely one point better than a 4+ save and so on. So how does a uniform progression make the ASM system more balanced than the AP system? It strikes me that game balance is achieved by balancing the effect of weapons against the resistance of models to hits by weapons such that the progression of the points values corresponds to the progression of the weapon effects against models, and that the curve of that progression is irrelevant.

Given how the majority of tactical thinking and army composition in 3rd/4th ed is dominated by armour saves and AP values I think the burden of proof is on the advocates of the AP system to prove that IT is balanced, not the other way around. The burden of proof lies with whosoever claims something can be proved. If you say that you can prove that the ASM system is more balanced than the AP system then you need to demonstrate that proof.


It is actually quite simple to show exactly why the ASM system is balanced. The massive leap in effectiveness of each armour type in 3rd/4th ed is not easy to balance and to be honest I think that he development team has ultimately failed to resolve this since 3rd ed came out. So you say that "it is actually quite simple to show exactly why the ASM system is balanced." If it's so simple then please take the requisite 5 minutes it takes to demonstrate a simple proof and draw up the demonstration of this claim.


The discussion is not, however, if there's a difference in the amount of damage a gun butt does to your shoulder compared to a bullet in the same location. The discussion is whether a bullet that has been stopped by body armor, and had it's energy dissipated out over a significantly larger area than that of a rifle butt is capable of pulping organs and spraying bone fragments into your body's core. So the discussion is not about how force is concentrated and dispersed, and whether that affects the realism of the AP system, but about how force is concentrated and dispersed and whether that affects the realism of the AP system. Okay. Fair enough.

Decius
05-04-2007, 06:18
When I first started reading this post, I was going to say we should make the autocannon a "heavy" ranged weapon, like a choppa but toned down a little more. But, after reading through these four pages, it looks like I'm a little out of my league. I'm going to watch some cartoons.

RavenMorpheus
05-04-2007, 07:10
Hello All

I'm sorry in advance (hmm, actually you'll most likely be reading this after reading the title so that doesn't sound right) for the length of the title, and the apparant disagreement with the idea of this thread.

As i was sitting in a 7 hour train journey (without a seat due to the evilness of the english train services refusal to use the right amount of carriages) i was thinking about the world of 40K and its basis in reality, and my mind often turned to the idea of AP.

One of the many complaints i hear about the AP system is the all and nothing aspect of it, people citing it "unrealistic" and so prefering the more logical warhammer system of modification.

But, here is my question: is the AP system that unrealistic?

i fully admit, my knowledge of armour vs bullets is limited, only have a rather brief crash course in the basic of projectiles in A level physics, so my knowlegde of the penertraing qualitities of bullets is basic to say the least.

ok, while on the train i was pondering this problem... is there a "threshold" that a bullet (i use the words bullet to keep it simple) would not pass through an object, i.e. the AP of the bullet?

My first logical guess would be that the PA system is too unrealistic, for even a piece of paper slows a bullet down, why couldn't power armour slow down a bullet enough to prevent it from doing injury... but then i realised that i was making a mistake.

i was using logic to solve a piece of science, a mistake that Aristotle made, heres a new logical step that i came up with to make the AP system, based around my observation of stuff like mythbusters.

i came to the conclusion that the AP system was not unrealistic, in fact it made more sense to me then the warhammer system.

for example: the system of bullet proofing glass is based upon thickness and the material in question, there is athreshold to which say a arrow will be stopped by the glass, but this is a very different total from say a sniper bullet, the AP system seems like a good way of representing this in game.

It seems to me that on a purely logical level, there has to be a level of glass that would stop a sniper bullet, but this same level could offer little resistance to a blast of a tank cannon.

my arguement is thus: the AP system represents the ability for a bullet to penetrate an object quite well in a purely logical sense, strength for warhammer does not work very well when applied to bullets as the penetration qualities of the bullet is not often linked to how hard it hits, but its mass/design/etc.

however, by using logic i've been making the same mistake as Aristotle, physics i learnt rarely follows human logic, so i pose this question to a science boffin who has studied this area of science in depth:

Is the AP system unrealistic in a purely scientific sense? Is there a threshold where a bullet will always be stopped by armour and where it will pass right through?

Thanks in advance for reading thsi rather long winded post

I think the AP system is a realistic representation - power armour may be able to stop a bolter shell, but definitely wouldn't stop a high powered hit like a lascannon which could be equated to a direct hit from a modern day tank cannon, which I think you mentioned in the original post.

So to answer the question - no the AP system is not unrealistic in a purely scientific sense at least it appears that way to me, what did the science boffin you asked about it say?

Adept
05-04-2007, 09:36
Personally, I think the current AP system is needlessly abstract.

A system of modifiers (which, with sufficient modifiers, will in some cases mirror the current AP system) gives us a result on the table top that I find more palatable.

To me, the issue is highlighted with Autocannons and bayonets.

A Marine has a 3+ save against an Autocannon.

He has the same 3+ save against a bayonet with an Imperial Guardsman behind it.

Why? Surely Power Armour is more likely to resist the impact of a bayonet than an autocannon?

Now, we could possibly explain it away as the Guardsman being more able to locate and strike weak points on the Marines armour, although we would be grasping at straws.

But the problem persists, if we look at lasguns and heavy bolters. Or any weapons that aren't AP3, basically.

The current AP system says that power armour is completely ineffective against anything that is AP3 or more. Fair enough, that makes sense. But it alos says that power armour is equally effective against all weapons that are AP4 or less, which is frankly stupid.

Shrike30
05-04-2007, 09:53
A Marine has a 3+ save against an Autocannon.

He has the same 3+ save against a bayonet with an Imperial Guardsman behind it.

Why? Surely Power Armour is more likely to resist the impact of a bayonet than an autocannon?

Let's say that a marine is hit with an autocannon (that is, the to-hit roll was successful). He's wounded on a 2+, and saves on a 3+... his odds of dying from that strike are about 28%.

Let's say that a marine is hit by a guardman's bayonet (that is, the to-hit roll was successful). He's wounded on a 5+, and saves on a 3+... his odds of dying from that strike are about 11%.

Despite the fact that neither bypasses his 3+ save, the autocannon is about 2.5x more lethal to the marine than the bayonet.

Looking at armor saves in a vacuum accomplishes little. When you also take into account factors like the strength of the incoming hit (and it's consequent effect on the odds of killing the target), in addition to the rate of fire of the weapon (few AP3/AP2 weapons are capable of more than 1 shot per turn in normal circumstances), things get a little more sensible. Multilasers and Krak Missiles, when fired at the same BS, have an identical chance of killing a Space Marine... one ignores his armor, the other simply overwhelms it. I agree that some more weapons could be bumped (both up and down) into the AP3 range, and it'd make the game more interesting.

Adept
05-04-2007, 10:05
Looking at armor saves in a vacuum accomplishes little.

As I say, the mechanism works, but is needlessly abstract. Armour should definately be looked at in isolation, if we were to consider how the armour save mechanism might be improved.

WLBjork
05-04-2007, 10:20
You've just Adept's point, well done Shrike30 ;)

GW play games until the points values "feel right", they've said this several times so I feel this can be taken as gospel.

The cost of a weapon will be based on it's effectiveness. It's effectiveness is a combination of its stats and how they work in the game.

Back to my example, where there are 2 similar guns:

30" S6 AP4 Heavy 3

30" S6 AP6 Heavy 4

Which gun is better?

Under AP the best gun is target-dependent. Against MEQ the best gun is the second. Against GEQ or Tau, the first gun is better.

However, if the weapons were:

30" S6 -2 Heavy 3

30" S6 0 Heavy 4

The first gun would be better than the second gun in most cases. Easier to price the weapon and you don't end up with a compromise in the army selection.

Which effectively brings me onto another part of my "AP is unbalanced" tirade. Take an example of Marines facing Guard. The Guard player has messed up and hasn't fielded many AP2/AP3 weapons (couple of Missile Launchers and a trio of Lascannons). The Guard player now has to rely entirely on luck to inflict significant casualties, whereas the Marine player will find it easy to butcher the Guard force.

With ASM the lack of weapons capable of ignoring armour is reduced as they all still have an effect.

The_Outsider
05-04-2007, 10:41
In during 2nd ed nostalgia fest.

Yeah we all know the AP system isn't "realistic" or "perfect" but its what we have got.

The game is now based upon the AP system.

So unless someone is willing to rewrite all the codices (and doing the needed points adjustment) I don't see where the problem lies.


Short answer: ASM "may" be superior but that basially means re-writing 40k from scratch.

leonmallett
05-04-2007, 10:45
....Which effectively brings me onto another part of my "AP is unbalanced" tirade. Take an example of Marines facing Guard. The Guard player has messed up and hasn't fielded many AP2/AP3 weapons (couple of Missile Launchers and a trio of Lascannons). The Guard player now has to rely entirely on luck to inflict significant casualties, whereas the Marine player will find it easy to butcher the Guard force.

With ASM the lack of weapons capable of ignoring armour is reduced as they all still have an effect.


But should justification for ASM simply be: well it helps compensate army selection?
That appears what you are arguing for.

ASM or AP ought to reflect weapon/attack capabilities, not compensate for army/unit/weapon selection.

I have to agree with Shrike30's point that the armour save is one of a combination of 3 factors to consider , and so shouldn't be considered in isolation since it is rarely (never?) seperated from the other two mechanisms: to hit, and to wound (or equivalent for sniper rifles, wraithcannon etc).
Mechanisms are necessarily abstract because a real-time, real-world scale equivalent simulation is impossible.

Egaeus
05-04-2007, 15:10
Which effectively brings me onto another part of my "AP is unbalanced" tirade. Take an example of Marines facing Guard. The Guard player has messed up and hasn't fielded many AP2/AP3 weapons (couple of Missile Launchers and a trio of Lascannons). The Guard player now has to rely entirely on luck to inflict significant casualties, whereas the Marine player will find it easy to butcher the Guard force.

With ASM the lack of weapons capable of ignoring armour is reduced as they all still have an effect.

I'm not quite sure I understand this argument...the Marine player still has to roll to hit and roll to wound as well, the Guard player just doesn't get a save roll...and since the Marines have better stats they do have an easier chance of killing a Guardsman with each shot. In exchange, Marines cost more, have fewer models per unit and fewer upgrade weapon options than the Guard.

Now we assume that Lasguns have ASM 0 and Bolters are ASM -2. The Guardsmen still don't get a save, and Marines are no easier to kill at all. Now if you say "but those aren't necessarily the save modifiers those weapons would have!" then I suggest that perhaps the issue is the assignment of AP values to specific weapons, rather than the AP system itself.

Over in the Development forum Captain Micha had a thread where it was suggested that all basic infantry weapons be reduced to AP 6 at best (the thread is here: http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74692), an idea which I sort of agree with.

One other thing that was mentioned was points costs, and I still think that has a lot to do with the issue, the main concern being that point values are assigned subjectively, which means that in certain paradigms they can be plain "wrong".

Shrike30
05-04-2007, 16:22
I was a big fan of that concept, to tell you the truth... knocking a point off of the AP value of a large number of weapons would make 4+ decidedly more useful, and still leave things like rockets, plasmas, etc in the "we swisscheese power armor" range. The autocannon ought to go to AP3, IMO, but that's a nitpick.

Brockafally
05-04-2007, 18:16
I find the AP and MOD system's to fit their respective eras. When you look at 40k, it's mainly a shooting type game. Where futuristic bullets hit your armour and it either absorbs the shot (making the save) or goes straight through (failing the save). Some weapons are designed to penetrate heavier armour (AP lower, obviously) so the result of taking a wound means it bypasses armour. That fits the 40k theme.

Now on the other hand when you look at Fantasy, it's not mainly a shooting game. Infact, when you think about it, archers shooting arrows at you isn't going to affect your armour. It's more of a down to earth setting. The modifiers are excellent for that system. Let's face it, when you get hit by a guy (who looks like Arnold) with a sword, then your armour is going to have reduced effect.

That's how I look at it. The MOD system plays on, high strength will reduce your armour's effectiveness (good for fantasy). Whereas 40k is more about shooting and armour blocking.

Meh.. I think both systems fit for their respective games. No need to drop anything.

leonmallett
05-04-2007, 18:35
I find the AP and MOD system's to fit their respective eras. When you look at 40k, it's mainly a shooting type game. Where futuristic bullets hit your armour and it either absorbs the shot (making the save) or goes straight through (failing the save). Some weapons are designed to penetrate heavier armour (AP lower, obviously) so the result of taking a wound means it bypasses armour. That fits the 40k theme.

Now on the other hand when you look at Fantasy, it's not mainly a shooting game. Infact, when you think about it, archers shooting arrows at you isn't going to affect your armour. It's more of a down to earth setting. The modifiers are excellent for that system. Let's face it, when you get hit by a guy (who looks like Arnold) with a sword, then your armour is going to have reduced effect.

That's how I look at it. The MOD system plays on, high strength will reduce your armour's effectiveness (good for fantasy). Whereas 40k is more about shooting and armour blocking.

Meh.. I think both systems fit for their respective games. No need to drop anything.


Let us not forget also that WFB shooting is modified for range/moving/cover (or at least it used to be).

lanrak
05-04-2007, 19:48
Hi all.
Do you think 40k should be WH in space with lots more guns?

And have little or no concept of 'to see or to hit' ,thus making ranged weapon attacks overly effective.

And then making close combat assault even more effective than ranged attacks.

And then boosting moral/ld with lots of special rules to ensure models make it across the battle field and into close combat by turn 3.

Yep thats the way to develop a counter intuative mess of a game!

You cannot improve the current version of 40k without having to alter ammend and add lots of extra rules.

Why not simply start from scratch?

I belive it would be quicker and more productive.(Mr Chambers seemed to think so too!)

Asmith
05-04-2007, 19:49
How about a simple rule such as: If the AP is one higher than the armor save, the armor save is modifed by one. So a marine hit by a AP4 weapon would have a 4+ save.

Dribble Joy
05-04-2007, 20:30
Neither read the first post or the ones subsequently, but the thread title says all really.

The AP system is a means of simplification and tactics, no it's not realistic, that's not the point.

Would I like a return to the save modifier system in 2nd ed. had an dlike like WHFB does now? Maybe.

Adept
05-04-2007, 21:03
Whereas 40k is more about shooting and armour blocking.

So you would agree that power armour should be as effective against a close combat attack from, say, a Gretchin as it should be against a direct hit from an autocannon or a heavy bolter?

Spell_of_Destruction
05-04-2007, 21:08
How about a simple rule such as: If the AP is one higher than the armor save, the armor save is modifed by one. So a marine hit by a AP4 weapon would have a 4+ save.

GAH! Why not just go with ASMs in that case? A hybrid system would be needlessly messy and complicated.

Asmith
05-04-2007, 21:13
What is so needlessly messy and complicated about the one simple rule? no new codexes, no new statlines, no game/system overhaul. It's about as non complicated and messy as you can get.

Zubb
05-04-2007, 21:27
Exactly.

The standard military kevlar armour we have today cannot withstand a M16 5.56 45 calibar round or an Ak-47 7.62 45 calibar round from any distance. In fact they cant even stop a 9mm round from 100m away. Its meant to take on shrapnel and small rounds from LONG distances. Ultimately its just meant to be "stab proof" but there are knives with diamonds woven into the tips to go through kevlar.



Sory but I have to disagree here. I'm not armorer, but I've been saved by a standart russian kevlar from the Ak-74 bullet fired from 60-70 meters, though the impact absorbed still was enough to knock me from my feet. Also it does a job at saving from shrapnel, post-detonation high-speed traveling objects (aie brick pieces, sharp and dangerous) and ricochets.

Spell_of_Destruction
05-04-2007, 21:27
What is so needlessly messy and complicated about the one simple rule? no new codexes, no new statlines, no game/system overhaul. It's about as non complicated and messy as you can get.

It could be done without completely overhauling the sytem, I'll give you that.

It would ultimately benefit MEQs though given the abundance of weapons at AP5 and the relative lack of weapons at AP4.

Thirdeye
05-04-2007, 21:42
I find your statement that "a common criticism of AP is that it is “unrealistic” a bit curious. Appeals to “realism” typically come from the Pro-AP camp, as an argument against Sv Mods. The argument goes something like this: “Most "modern" ballistics body armor is all-or-nothing. A round will either pass through the armor or not." The Pro-AP camp puts this argument forward, along with AP being simpler and faster, as another reason why GW was right to drop Sv Mods and go with AP. The thing is, this argument is wrong.

As to the “All or nothing” thing, that’s not how it works in the real world. Modern body armor comes with a rating. It will stop a certain type of round, period, but only if fired at the front/chest (were the ballistic material is the maximized), only from a certain range, and only if its new, right out of the package. The effectiveness of the given type of armor varies widely depending on such variables as age, condition, care, repair, humidity, perspiration, range, deflection, type of round, point of impact, etc. This variability is sufficiently represented in the game with the SAVE Role, so AP is fine as far as “reality” goes, but the “All or nothing = Reality” argument is BS.

Orkimedies
05-04-2007, 22:05
i like the ap system it makes armor useful, in warhammer fantasy armor is useless.

Egaeus
06-04-2007, 14:34
So you would agree that power armour should be as effective against a close combat attack from, say, a Gretchin as it should be against a direct hit from an autocannon or a heavy bolter?

Two things spring to mind on reading this...

First, you have to remember that the effectiveness of an attack is based on more than simply the armour save roll. The (relative) skill of the attacker (BS or WS) and the Strength of the attack (versus the Toughness of the defender) also come into play. So in that sense, I would say that "Yes, power armour affords a certain level of protection to the user so long as that level of protection isn't exceeded by the attack."

The other thing to bring up here is the issue that ranged combat and melee use a slightly different system. Ranged combat has AP while melee is absolutely "save/no save" (although they have introduced a number of rules to modify this such as Heavy Close Combat Weapons and Rending).

I think an interesting exercise would be to look at applying either system to the other situation. That is, how would the game fundamentally change if ranged weapons were save/no save like CC, or the introduction of AP to close combat?

Son of Makuta
06-04-2007, 21:03
Personally, I like the AP system as a Tyranid player because it makes the game more focused on hard units. I.e. my Gaunts get shot down in droves because it's their job, while my Hive Tyrants just wade through it all as long as they can duck the lascannons. :) But then, this is speaking from someone standing behind the game's only truly armour-balanced army (My other army, Eldar, come pretty close, but they're all T3). Most armies fit into a certain armour bracket - they're either MEQ, GEQ or the new term TEQ (which I presume means Tau equivalent, T3 4+ save). Some armies have a mix, like Tau whose Crisis-Fire Warrior double team makes an entertaining combo and of course my beloved 'nids, but that doesn't manage to balance the game.

The problem is the Marines. I don't know who said that 65% of people play MEQ armies, but I can believe it. Well, having said that, the problem isn't quite the Marines. It's the Marines having 3+ saves and all the mean weapons having AP4. They knocked the starcannon down to Heavy 2 because it wounded MEQs on 2+ with no save. The heavy bolter has exactly the same effect on my (more expensive) Aspect Warriors, Genestealers, Tyranid Warriors etc. Warriors may be T4 with two wounds, but when someone points a heavy bolter or autocannon at them, generally one of them will die. (Don't get me started on assault cannons.) These guns are also really common - even Chimeras come with two apiece - and amazingly cheap: it's 10 points for a pair of heavy bolters on a Leman Russ, so that's basically six shots that're going to plague me all game until my Carnifex finally walks up to the thing. ;)

The solution? I'd recommend reducing the AP of the heavy bolter to 5 (and the big shoota to 6, to compensate). The autocannon is fine as it is, it deserves its AP, but HBs are far too common for my all too fragile and expensive units to stand up to. The only thing I'd say they're currently fair against are Tau Fire Warriors, which are fairly numerous, but again they're still 10pts a model. It would be a good balancing move overall; I think that would be all we needed to (almost) fix the system! MEQs would still wade through them, but now it would give a fair chance to expensive fragile elite units as well. I know that's taking away some of the tactics, but if we're on about firepower avoidance, let's double the amount of terrain we have and make everything S10 AP1 large blast...

I'd also use this:


How about a simple rule such as: If the AP is one higher than the armor save, the armor save is modifed by one. So a marine hit by a AP4 weapon would have a 4+ save.

This is great, because it's nice and simple, solves the autocannon-Marine debate and also fixes how those massive AP3 anti-tank weapons can bounce off a Tyrant or Terminator without doing anything at all... 2+ saves are fun to roll, when they're on your side ;), but they can be a bit stupid sometimes. Currently, an Earthshaker or even a krak missile is more likely to damage a Land Raider than a Terminator. Admittedly, it might just stun it, but if we're talking monstrous creatures, it'll take a bunch of Earthshakers to have a chance of knocking off all four or five wounds. I mean, Carnifexes aside, the shell's probably bigger than that little Chaplain in artificer armour...

It would also give Necron firepower a bit more edge against Marines, as although they can pump out the shots like nobody's business, they still have a near-complete lack of AP3 and not nearly enough assault prowess to make up for it (as Tyranids and Orks have, although Orks get all those rokkits so they're ok anyway). Finally, it would make MEQs seem not so problematic for those who lack the magical AP3. Knowing that you can reduce that dreaded 3+ save to a more manageable 4+ will make a big psychological difference - and hopefully stop people whining about them! :P

Right, that's the for-AP argument done with. Now to why I don't like the ASM system. In 40K, it simply wouldn't work. I can't help noticing how about 90% of Warhammer ranged stuff is S4 or less - even spells rarely touch S5, and most multi-shot war machines are S4 also. Well, with 40K, you have about 30%, maybe 25%, in that strength band (most basic weaponry, splinter cannons, cyclic ion blasters and that's about it...). There's a similar percentage of S5-6 stuff, some S7, and then a bunch of S8+ anti-tank guns. Take the scatter laser. In Warhammer that'd have a -3 modifier, making it brilliant against even Terminators, and with four shots!

The other possibility is to include AP stats as modifiers and not include strength mods. This is better, but again it can reduce saves considerably. You'd end up with stuff like Hive Tyrants and Terminators getting 4+ saves against bolters and the like. Which means that basic weaponry suddenly becomes the best anti-monster shooting in the game. "Don't bother with the lascannon, men, just rapid-fire it to death!" It's why armour is pointless in Necromunda; flak armour gets ignored 90% of the time, mesh armour ignored about 30-40% of the time and rendered to a useless 6+ save for the rest, and carapace armour usually gives you a not-that-good 5+ save and halves your Initiative to boot!

Basically, even though Marines are too hard in many gamers' views, I say just make them more expensive. Sorted. Anyway, they're not that bad; they're easily beatable in many cases, especially the huge amount of new players with their Ultramarine armies. You don't need to put in ASMs and make all the supposedly hard models suddenly really fragile just because Marines can stand up to autocannons too well.

Shrike30
06-04-2007, 21:19
The scale of the shift involved moving from one level of armor save to the next in 40k is worth noting. We can sit here talking about Class III, Class IV armor... but the scale of a shift involved in going up or down 1 level of save is enormously different.

Orks and Catachans are a good example of 6+ saves. Catachans wear lightweight flak armor on their torsos only, really not meant to provide protection from much more than loose fragments. Ork armor is similar, in that it's limited protection over the parts of the body that they can stick the heavy leather or steel plate, or whatever. It's able to provide protection from conventional small arms fire occasionally (autoguns, lasguns... it's quite possible that the 1/6 chance it's got of protecting is against ricochets or shots that are coming in at a weird angle), and can be assumed to keep frags from penetrating the important parts of the torso, but when a fragmentation weapon (frag grenades and missiles are AP6) goes off close enough to the wearer that they're saturated with fragments (that is, the to-wound check comes up "Wound"), the lack of coverage becomes an issue, and enough fragments enter places like the head, neck, pelvis, and upper arms/legs to remove the soldier from the fight. He's not necessarily dead, but he'd banged up enough that he can't fight anymore. This kind of armor simply isn't heavy enough to provide any protection against heavy stubbers, multilasers, or bolter rounds.

Flak armor (5+) is somewhat heavier, and usually has better coverage. Eldar Guardians' combat suits and Cadian armor are good examples of this. Cadian armor is heavier, and uses plates to protect the shoulders, torso, shins, and head (in the form of a helmet), with the rest of the body protected by a lighter garment that is intended to resist fragments, but leave the soldier able to move around easily. Guardian armor is very similar... the body is mostly covered, but the heavy armor is on the torso and head. This heavier armor allows the wearer to have better than nothing odds (1/3) of surviving a serious frag weapon hit or an impact from a heavy stubber, and the lack of penetrating power from weapons like shootas, Kroot rifles or the multilaser prevents them from being able to breach that protection, but it's only covering the important parts of the body, and impacts to other locations can still disable or kill a combatant. It's still not enough to stop bolter ammunition (whose fusing causes it to explode in tissue, or on contact with armor to drive the tip of the round through it and into the target) or shuriken weapon fire (likely due to sheer rate of fire... the target is on the recieving end of what's essentially a continual barrage of ultrasharp fragments, and while the plates in the armor may absorb this, the more flexible parts cannot, and they make up the majority of the armor).

When you get up to Carapace armor, 'eavy Armor, Fire Warrior suits, or the lighter Aspect Warrior suits, you're beginning to see the extension of those protective plates to cover large segments of the body. Carapace armor used by Kasrkins is a good example of this applied to a human... you've still got the full-body ballistic garment, but you've added thigh, knee, groin, and arm protection to the coverage, and the armor is heavier than that found on a guardsman. The coverage is sufficient that it protects the wearer from about 50% of what would otherwise be disabling hits, and is capable of stopping pretty much any standard rifle fire, including the explosive armor-piercing bolter rounds and the micro-plasma bursts fired from pulse rifles. Shuriken weapons can still find a weak spot in the armor, but the coverage has improved enough that the odds of surviving are now 50%, rather than 33%. This story is the same across all of the humanoid 4+ armor types... you see significant body coverage using heavy plates. It's not enough to stop heavy weapons fire... heavy bolter rounds are 1.00 caliber, not .75 caliber, and contain a much heavier charge, autocannons are used to fight tanks and go right through this stuff, and shuriken cannons and assault cannons lay down such a barrage of fire that while the armor may be able to stop it, target saturation is so high that the coverage is insufficient to prevent something from getting through to somewhere important.

The next step, obviously, would be figuring out how to extend that plating to cover anywhere that you possibly can... joints, the backs of the legs and butt... and the problem you encounter when you do that is that the armor becomes so heavy, you can't move. By adding powered assistance to the armor (making it power armor), you're able to mount plating vastly heavier than a normal person could move while wearing, and cover the vast majority of the body with it, only leaving weak spots at places like the neck, inside of the elbow and wrists, back of the knees, creases at the pelvis, the abdomen... places that can't be made rigid, because they prevent the wearer from moving properly. The plating is heavy enough that it shrugs off most of the heavy weapons not intended for engaging vehicles, and can provide about a 66% chance of surviving being on the recieving end of a solid hit from a shuriken cannon or assault cannon simply by not having that many places that are insufficiently armored. Kicking from "the amount of armor you can wear in a non-powered garment" to "the amount of armor you can wear in a powered suit" is an enormous jump in the amount of protection you're talking about, and this manifests as the 3+ versus 4+ gap that we see in 40k. You can find gaps in powered armor... pathfinder rifles are precise enough to get the occasional "AP1" shot, assault cannons fling so much lead that they occasionally "Rend" their way into a gap and are therefore more dangerous than an equal number of 6/4 rounds fired from a different weapon, but the armor plating involved is thick enough that you're basically have to use a weapon intended to punch through vehicular armor in order to breach powered armor. The one obvious issue here is autocannons... personally, I think they should be AP3. Compare the to-wound of various weapons like rocket launchers, plasma rifles, brightlances... these are all weapons that, if they strike someone wearing powered armor, only have a 1/6 chance of not hitting somewhere immediately disabling, and they go through the armor like it was swiss cheese.

2+ armor represents, essentially, walking light tanks. Ion cannons, rockets, even the blast from a battle cannon or Basilisk shell aren't capable of penetrating this armor, and it's just the occasional weak spot that is a concession to normal movement (rather than building an armored box on wheels) that allows small arms the occasional chance of killing someone inside of a Broadside suit or Terminator armor. High-penetration weapons such as lascannons, meltaguns, and plasma weapons can still make it through the armor, and will usually still instantly disable the wearer. Enormous explosions nearby (demolition charges, Demolisher cannon shells, etc... AP2 blasts) may not be breaching the suit, simply imparting enough energy to it that the wearer is knocked unconcious or killed as he's flung at high speed into the side of a nearby tank. This is the pinnacle of the 40k universe's armor vs. ungodly powerful weapons curve here, folks, and the only things that can punch through it are high-energy weapons and absolutely enormous explosive blasts. Many suits of this incredibly heavy powered armor can incorporate energy fields intended to provide further protection - the crux terminatus of terminator armor and it's 5++ save, the optional shield generator of the Broadside suit and it's corresponding 4++ save - but the only way to get through this much armor is to get lucky.

You can rattle heavy machinegun fire against the front plate of a modern tank all day long, but the only way you're going to do anything significant to it is if you hit a weak spot. The same is true when you look at 40k armor. As armor values go up, they represent both thicker, more resistant armor and better coverage by that armor. You don't punch through powered armor with a heavy bolter any better than you punch through a tank with a machinegun... you just get lucky sometimes, and hit a spot that's not protected enough.

Heavy bolters are more effective against powered armor wearers than lasguns, obviously, but it's not because the round they fire is more capable of punching through the big plate in the middle of a space marine's chest. The high rate of fire of the weapon, it's ability to provide a much higher effective rate of fire (you don't have to reload a belt-fed weapon nearly as often as you do a magazine-fed weapon), and the odds that a heavy bolter round that does make it through a gap in the armor will inflict enough damage to figure as a "wound" in the system all contribute to the higher rate of fire and the higher strength of a heavy bolter.

I said it before, I'll say it again. You can't look at the armor save alone in a vacuum... you need to look at a weapon's entire profile to see how they managed to combine it's various attributes into a format where it represents a balance of playability and intended effectiveness. It's pretty obvious to anyone around here that a minigun can fire a lot faster than twice the rate of an assault rifle (heavy 4 assault cannon versus rapid fire rifle)... but the strength, AP value, and the Rending special rule combine with that H4 rate of fire to represent what's essentially a heavy stubber firing at 50-100 rounds per second. It makes it through powered armor through putting so much lead in the air that something's going to hit a weak spot, and it's more lethal to a squad in powered armor than a krak rocket.

Aside from a few tweaks to the AP rating of a couple of weapons, I really don't have a problem with how the AP system works. When you combine it with all of the other attributes of a weapon profile, it compares to an imagined reality pretty well.

insectum7
06-04-2007, 21:33
Do people really have such a hard time beating marines that they must resort to these rampant debates about the problem with 3+ armor? Really, this debate pops up every month or so, and it always stems from this "Marines are too powerfull mentality."

Marines have a great save. This is a big part of what defines their army. In an effort to make things strategically diversified in the 40K universe, the AP system was introduced in order to provide a greater range of armor without moving past the d6. Personally, I am impressed that this worked out so well. The marine army relies on exactly what it should rely on, its basic trooper. Do not expect other armies to be able to do the same without a vast increase in numbers, becasue they shouldn't be able to.

Is the AP system realistic? It's pretty decent. Is the AP system realistic enough within the context of the 40K game? You bet.

Remember the amount of abstraction involved. The save isn't just armor, the strength isnt just power, the wound isn't just dead. The resulting relationships between units on the table is what matters, and in a responsibly set up game (terrain, lists, missions) I think that they are pretty well worked out.

(good post shrike30 btw)