Monday, 10 October 2011

Rules Intrigue

We've all come across rules intrigue before... Such as how does this rule interact with that rule and unfortunately I've seen players valiantly defend the result which favours them despite the way the rules actually seem written.

Before I get started however, credit where its due: The idea behind this article was inspired by Natfka's Rules of Our Game posts over on Faeit 212.

My greatest dislike when players begin defending certain results over the rules (whether it favours them or not) is the claim of 'realism', such as the commonly phrased 'realistically in that situation this would happen'.

Two things I quite certain of in this regard are as follows:
* Claiming to know what is realistic in a fantasy world with heavily advanced technology and arguably different physics (Psykers, the Warp etc to say the least) comes across as rather silly.
* As with many common arguments regarding the game (fluff for example), realism is entirely subjective and can be explained in multiple different ways which all seem 'real' from different angles.
I'll explain my second point by detailing two sides of a conversation regarding assault grenades.. Person A was explaining how assault grenades only apply to the model carrying it because realistically they can't pass out grenades to the whole unit he joins and take them back when he leaves, even if he could carry enough grenades on his body. Person B responded that realistically assault grenades are designed to flush the enemy out of cover so they don't have an advantage over the attacker, in which it isn't realistic for the grenades to only assist him.
Arguably they could both be correct, but the RAW (rules as written) state the assault grenades only benefit the model armed with them, so that is what actually matters.

This post however is to detail a number of other such situations I've come across which result in what I call Rules Intrigue. I'll include some comments on how I see the RAW and how I would personally play if the situation would arise. Of course I could be wrong (all the more intrigue), so I welcome comments.
Some are more clear than others and less intriguing but still interesting I feel.

Meltabombs Vs. Ceramite
What penetration do you roll for Meltabombs against things such as Storm Ravens which are detailed as being immune to the Melta rule?
This obviously arises as some FW vehicles note they are not subject to the Melta special rule and the Ceramite Plating rule for Storm Raven's detail that melta weapons do not gain the extra D6 armour penetration.
The section on Meltabombs in the rulebook however does not note them as having the Melta rule and make no mention of an additional +D6, they simply seem to roll 2D6+6 instead of the usual D6+Str penetration rule.

Turbo-Penetrator round Vs. Wave Serpent
What penetration do you roll for a Vindicare's Turbo-Penetration round against a Wave Serpents front/rear armour?
The Wave Serpent's Energy Field rule notes that ranged attacks never roll more than +1D6 for their armour penetration, while the Turbo-Penetrator round reads a turbo-penetrator shot has an Armour Penetration of 4D6.
My interpretation of the RAW here is that the turbo-penetrator round isn't adding any D6's, but is completely rewriting the standard penetration value (The usually 3+D6), as evidenced by the 3 no longer applying and thus technically the round isn't getting the initial +D6 let alone anymore. As such I'd say the turbo-penetration rolls 4D6, however I would say the energy field prevents any bonus D3's from Rending. Opinions please?

Hades Breaching Drill Vs Units in Cover
Does a unit in area cover gain a cover save against the blast effect from a Hades Breaching Drill arriving from reserve, considering that the arrival causes the removal of terrain features under the blast?
This highly puzzled me, there is nothing in the RAW to allow or disallow the cover save and no real note on whether the terrain is removed before, after or at the same time as units are hit. Luckily this is one I wrote to Forgeworld about and received a reply stating: The rules as written are indeed slightly ambiguous, and we’ll cover this in an FAQ next time we update the document online. Cover Saves DO apply, representing models diving aside, or behind rocks etc, but the terrain piece itself does not benefit and is removed at the end of the Shooting phase.
Brings back images of old cartoons where they'd hide behind a rock, which would subsequently collapse to dust with them safely behind it, hehe.

Night Shields Vs Inferno/Infernus Pistols
Can Inferno/Infernus pistols make use of the Melta rule against Dark Eldar vehicles with Night Shields?
This arises since the Night Shields wording of reducing the range of the weapons of enemy units wishing to fire at the vehicle by 6" along with the section noting The extra distance is also counted for working out if the vehicle is in rapid fire range, half range for melta shot, and so on means that Meltagun's cannot gain an additional D6 for being within half range. However it also says Night Shields have no effect on template or barrage weapons, as well as weapons with a maximum range of 6" or less.
To me this is quite clear tho I've had responses otherwise (usually with the realism reasoning), the Night Shield has no effect on Inferno/Infernus pistols and thus when within 3" they do get the +D6 additional penetration.

Night Shield Vs Conversion Beamer
Does a Night Shield affect the profile (Str/Ap) of a Conversion Beamer?
Those familiar with a Conversion Beamer are no doubt aware that it gains in power the further away your target is, from Str6 Ap-, through Str8 Ap4 all the way to Str10 Ap1. I won't repeat the Night Shield rules again but one can easily see how this question arises.
This one I found quite fun and interesting. It can be said that as a Conversion Beamer's profile is calculated after rolling scatter that the Night Shield has no effect, weapons are allowed to scatter beyond their maximum range. However Conversion Beamers are an exception since if they scatter to a point more than 72" away they automatically miss which defeats this argument.
Personally I find the argument is that since the table for the Conversion Beamer has a column titled 'range' (which matches the wording for the Night Shield), that Night Shields would affect the profile of the Conversion Beamer, which is rather unfortunate as the Night Shield actually weakens the vehicle in this case.

Soul Trap Vs Saint Celestine
Can a Dark Eldar character with a Soul Trap take the test to double his strength by killing Saint Celestine and if yes, when and how many times?
Soul Trap is worded Whenever the bearer kills an enemy Independent Charecter, yet this question arises based on when (if ever) do you count Saint Celestine as being killed? For the purposes of this question we'll assume that Saint Celestine is an Independent Character despite the WD Codex being uncertain on that regard.
Another fun one, my first thought was the Grey Knight FAQ which notes that Justicar Thawn counts as being killed for the purposes of rules like Power from Pain the first time he is reduced to 0 wounds after he has left his unit. By this one can easily assume that Saint Celestine (whose ability works virtually identical to Thawns) does count as being killed, but only the first time it occurs for such rules.

Flat Out Destruction Vs Skies of Blood / Grav Chute Insertion
Are units inside Storm Ravens, Valkyries or Vendettas removed as casualties if their transport is destroyed after moving Flat Out?
By now I assume that everyone has seen the FAQ regarding transports being destroyed after going Flat Out, if not I'll include it now:
Q: If a transport vehicle is destroyed in the same turn as
it moved flat out what happens to any embarked
models? (p70)
A: They are removed as casualties.
This FAQ is due to the fact that the Fast Vehicle rules prevent units from embarking or disambarking from vehicles which have gone flat out, which thanks to the FAQ has ben clarified to also include forced disembarkation from vehicle destruction, although the FAQ doesn't actually explain this reasoning. However Skies of Blood & Grav Chute Insertion both begin with If the <Storm Raven/Valkyrie> has moved flat out passengers can still disembark.
If the FAQ had explained its reasoning as above, then this would be a definite no they are not destroyed. I'm still inclined to say that this is the case, which would go a long way to explaining the existence for those rules as I've rarely seen them used in other cases.

Warp Quake Vs A lot of things..
Does Warp Quake affect units disembarking from a Valkyrie/Vendetta using Grav Chute Insertion? Units disembarking from a Storm Raven using Skies of Blood? Librarians using The Gate of Infinity psychic power?  Callidus Assassins appearing via Polymorphine? - And if so, how does it?
This question is based off the Warp Quake section noting any enemy unit deploying by Deep Strike within 12" of the squad (after scattering) will automatically suffer a Deep Strike mishap.
Unfortunately at first glance (and quite bizarrely) the answer seems to be yes in most of those cases. Skies of Blood & Grav Chute Insertion both note that you deploy the squad as if it were deep striking onto that point and Polymorphine notes The Callidus Assassin in then placed anywhere within 3" of that unit using the Deep Strike rules, but does not scatter both of which could be translated as deploying by deep strike. The Gate of Infinity would be an exception as it simply notes removed from the tabletop and immediately placed back together anywhere within 24" using the Deep Strike rules which cannot be interpreted as deploying at all, this is rather strange as fluffwise you'd assume things to be the other way around.
I don't really agree with such translations for the Storm Raven/Valkyrie however. Personally the as if it were deep striking section of Skies of Blood and Grav Chute Insertion mean they are not affected by Warp Quake. I can't even see the Callidus as being affected as the wording of placed rather than deployed affects it. Of course in both these examples, the simply question of 'How would the mishap rules work?' suggests Warp Quake can't affect them, is doesn't make sense for Warp Quake to freeze a unit in midair (the delayed result) or blow them along (the misplaced result), nor can one assume that Warp Quake allows a Callidus Assassin to have her disguise reaccepted after she has killed members of the unit (delayed result) or somehow have killed her victims from a huge distance (the misplaced result).
The Gate of Infinity is obviously safe from affect anyway by its wording and due to my reasons in the last paragraph I don't believe the other rules would be affected either.

Doom Vs Friendly Units
NOTE: This one came to my attention moments after I finished this article when a friend of mine texted saying a temporary staff member filling in at our local GW suggested the tactic. I'll first say I've less trust in GW store staff than it seems the majority of people online, tho the usual manager is very kool.
Onto the actual Intrigue, the suggestion was an alternative use of the Doom psychic power available to Eldar Farseers where you cast the power upon one of your own units to force the opponent to reroll successful to wound rolls.
I'd normally disregard such an idea but as it came from a GW employee (even if just a replacement while the usual manager is on holiday) I feel I should give it some thought. Part of the wording for doom is The Farseer can target any non-vehicle unit within 24" which means there is nothing to stop you casting it upon your own units in the RAW, despite the fluff sentence beforehand explicitly stating enemy (would such fluff count as RAW?). Doom's wording continues saying All hits caused upon that unit gain a re-roll to wound until the start of the next Eldar turn. Presumably the mans point was that it doesn't state that it is unsuccessful rolls that are re-rolled and on pg2 of the main rulebook it states pick up the dice you wish to re-roll.
By the RAW however I would say this tactic is illegal as it will be the person making the attacks who would get to choose what dice to re-roll and thus, Doom'ing your own units will (unsurprisingly) bring about their doom as he will choose to re-rolls those that failed.
Additional Thoughts: This brings two other ideas to mind however... If you can choose what to re-roll, there is nothing preventing you from re-rolling some successful wounds to keep the enemy alive (In an attempt to keep your unit in combat when it comes to the enemies turn) or even re-roll successful wounds that aren't 6's with Rending attacks. *bites lip* Opinions people?

There are a few more I could list, but as many of them regard Necrons I'm going to not include them and optimistically assume discussion is not needed as they'll be updated soon.
Rather foolish of me I'll admit.

One last note, I'd planned this to be up over the weekend but unfortunately other issues took up my time as I was in charge of running a LARP event sunday which was my top priority.. Things went well and everyone had a good time and we all received the usual amusingly high number of beatings *laughs*

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