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[ORB] Parry as a skill only - not on weapons?

Discussion in 'Rules, Mechanics & Skills' started by Zenithfleet, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. First post here and it's a spitball... ahem :) Mainly thinking of the ORB here, but it might be applicable to NCE too.

    What would happen if the Parry rule were removed from all weapons (swords, chainswords, power swords...) but kept as a Combat skill?

    The general idea is to delete the 'Sword' entry on the trade chart, and count any modelled swords as either a Club/Axe/Maul/Bludgeon, or as a knife. The Parry rule would then be deleted from all other weapons and their cost reduced by 5 credits to compensate. You could still learn Parry as a skill on the Combat table, though.

    Would this make the other CCW choices more appealing?

    Or would it have too many knock-on effects? (e.g. making chainswords and flails useless?)

    I don't have much experience with Necromunda (despite many aborted attempts to paint up a full gang and get a proper terrain set done), so I'm just throwing this idea out there so the experts can riddle it with holes.

    Reasoning: The Parry rule has always bothered me because it seems to make swords better than other CC weapons, in the same way that ORB lasguns are better than autoguns, so everybody takes them. (I realise 'everybody' is a generalisation, but there seem to be an awful lot of sword conversions in the gangs I've seen photos of over the years, and a lot of recommendations for new players to favour swords.)

    From a fluff perspective, the idea of gangers preferring swords makes no sense to me. Aren't swords tricky weapons to master in the real world? They should be much harder to use than a length of lead piping. You don't magically acquire the ability to parry just because you're holding a sword--it's a skill you have to learn.

    By contrast, it doesn't bother me too much that autopistols tend to be favoured over laspistols, because that feels justified by the fluff. Gangers would prefer a spray-shooter that sometimes jams because it's easy to fix and to find ammo for in the Underhive, whereas you'd want a reliable laspistol if you were a soldier stuck in an alien swamp for three weeks. I can put up with a lack of diversity in weapons if it feels true to the setting. But when it comes to swords, I feel that there's a mismatch between the rules and the gangland / Mad Max / Wild West fluff that Necro is based on.

    To put it another way, Parry feels like a holdover from Warhammer Fantasy Battle (by way of 2nd ed 40K). In both games you might expect anyone with a sword to be suitably well-trained in its use. But hand one to some green juve in the Underhive and watch as he cuts off his own foot...

    In rules terms there also seems to be a bit of a pile-up regarding Parry in the ORB. One sword, two swords, Parry skill, Parry skill if you have a sword, Counter Attack... at first impressions it seems like a stack of rules Jenga :p

    Sorry if this has been proposed before. I know there have been plenty of debates about Parry and swords over the years. I've had a look through NCE and I see some sensible changes there (increased cost; nerfing of the Parry rule). Others have disallowed Juves from using swords as a house rule, or similar. I just feel like it would be less hassle to cut the Gordian knot and get rid of Parry from weapons altogether.

    Context: I've always been interested in playing Necro, but only ever got a handful of games in about a decade ago, so I have very little experience with the rules. For the moment I'm using the ORB, with a few clarifications and house rules nicked from NCE. This is because I also want to play 2nd ed 40K, so would prefer to keep the weapon stats the same as far as possible (though I'll tweak one or two things like the lasgun range). Also, I like my big hardback book with all the nifty artwork. :)
    Ben_S and Fold like this.
  2. Fold

    Fold Gang Hero

    Nice ideas and I'm with you all the way on the incongruity of swords in the underhive from a fluff perspective. Furthermore simply increasing their cost doesn't seem like much of an option due to the convention of pricing in multiples of 5 which leaves few options, and because fluff wise it is difficult to see why a simple bit of forged metal should be terribly expensive.

    My instinct is that removing parry entirely is over the top but a compromise proposal could be making parry less effective unless you have the Deflect skill. So you'd only get the full parry with both Deflect and a sword. Only having one or the other would result in a less effective version of the parry rule.

    Another route might be making swords more fragile, so potentially they have a chance to break when used to parry.
  3. Thanks for those ideas--will ponder :)

    Would breaking weapons work similarly to exploding weapons? (You'd automatically repair it after the game?)

    I did have another thought after making my first post: What if swords were removed from the game (i.e. they count as either knives or clubs/mauls), but Parry is retained on chainswords and power swords? The latter two would then stay the same price.

    In the case of chainswords, the Parry would represent the whirring chainsaw blades catching and biting into your opponent's weapon. Likewise, the power sword's energy field could feasibly deflect attacks, slice through your club, etc. Since it's something the weapon itself does, it's not nearly so incongruous as a sword somehow conferring mad combat skills on the user.

    This might help make chainswords more useful than they currently are once you get a Strength stat increase, because it's one of the few ways to get a parry. The old club-and-sword combo would no longer supersede it. Meanwhile, their price would prevent too much chainsword spam... at least in my head.

    Flails would also remain somewhat useful because they'd help counter chainswords and power swords.

    Plus gangs with little access to Combat skills could still get Parry if they bought a chainsword or power sword.

    Frankly, anything that encourages fewer swords (very un-Necro) and more chainswords (extremely Necro) appeals to me :)

    What do you reckon?
  4. Ben_S

    Ben_S Hive Guilder

    Perhaps one option would be to make parry less effective; for instance (borrowing from Mordheim) saying you could only make your opponent re-roll one of their dice if it's higher than your highest dice.

    Ultimately, however, I don't really see why you'd debate changing the ORB. I know some people prefer to stick to the ORB because they don't like changes, which is fine, but why go for that only to then introduce your own changes?
  5. p0dde

    p0dde Gang Champion
    Yak Philanthropist

    You have to consider the gang balance here. Some gangs can buy swords and some can. If you nerf swords, you have to look at how it effects the gang selection. Also, for many gangs it is a leader only weapon, making it a cool leader weapon, and giving you this one good h2h fighter from game one.
  6. Ben_S

    Ben_S Hive Guilder

    Not in ORB.
    p0dde likes this.
  7. p0dde

    p0dde Gang Champion
    Yak Philanthropist

    Ah, Gotcha! I should probably stay out of ORB discussions =)
  8. Yep, I've seen the 're-roll higher dice' thing in NCE and it looks like a good idea... but playing devil's advocate, I've had a look around some of the Shadow War: Armageddon discussions and seen the same old 'Parry is overpowered!' complaints even though it apparently uses the same parry rule as NCE.

    I probably wasn't clear in my original post. When I mention changing the ORB, I just mean house rules. I'm sure most people who use the ORB have a few. It's not as if it's perfect in every way...

    I've read through NCE and borrowed a number of tweaks and clarifications from it, such as High Impact (which was also in the LRB) and differing rules for photo-contacts vs photo-visors (it never made sense to me that they did the same thing). I've adjusted a couple of the skills too, like Marksman. But I'm staying away from really big changes like a full weapon rebalancing, completely revamped skill tables or wholesale reorganisation of the trade chart because at that point I may as well play NCE. Which of course I would do if I were playing in a group that wanted to use it.

    The main reason I'm using ORB is because it's interchangeable with 2nd ed 40K. And it's more convenient since I have the hardback.

    If I could wish up my ideal Necromunda it would use Legends of the Old West rules :p

    Anyway, as stated, I'm now thinking the generic swords are the problem, not Parry per se. I might try just deleting swords as a purchasable option and see what happens. Though as p0dde points out, that's not as feasible in NCE as it would be under ORB rules (at least for those who use house weapons lists).
    Ben_S likes this.
  9. scavvyjay

    scavvyjay Gang Champion

    Surely ORB can't be changed in any form? This discussion should be in the NCE? But I do agree swords don't make much sense, in 40K it does as you're dealing with trained military, with officers and specialised CC troops with swords. Another way to limit swords is no one can parry unless they have a WS of 4 or greater.
  10. Fold

    Fold Gang Hero

    Or have them count as unwieldy (doubling fumbles) if your WS is lower than 4.
  11. Ben_S

    Ben_S Hive Guilder

    Since you quote me, I assume this is somehow supposed to reply to what I was saying, but then I'm afraid I don't follow what you're saying.

    The bit you quoted was a direct response to p0dde's post above it, pointing out that HWLs didn't exist in ORB, and therefore there would be no need to consider balance between gangs if removing swords.

    Aside from that, your point seems to be the one I made in my post before that.

  12. You underestimate the power of the humble lead pencil and sticky notes :sneaky:

    Like I said, house rules. I'm taking in old Q&A rulings from White Dwarf and the mailing list anyway, so I may as well tinker while I'm at it.

    Whether said house rules survive contact with the opinions of other players is another matter...

    How do people feel about my revised idea of leaving Parry alone but simply dropping ordinary swords as a purchasable option? Chainswords and power swords would stay as is. Swords on models would count as clubs. (In effect these two weapon entries become 'club/maul/bludgeon/sword', all +1S with no parry, and 'knife'.)

    In theory this would make chainswords more useful despite their set Strength of 4, while their high cost would prevent Parry abuse. However I haven't played nearly enough Necro to judge this.

    In ORB this would cause no change to existing models' points costs because swords and clubs are both 10 pts (sensibly increased in NCE).
  13. Fold

    Fold Gang Hero

    It's your house rules so I guess it's your groups opinion that counts, but personally I don't like it. I like that Necromunda has a level of detail and diversity and removing that is a bad thing. So I'd prefer a rule that discourages without banning.
  14. That's fair enough, and I reckon a lot of people would agree with you. I ran my suggestion by an old-timey Necro player today and got the same response (he favoured a WS threshold before you could parry).

    I have a feeling most people prefer to either add rules/options or tweak them rather than remove them.

    My point of view might be a bit different because I've worked as an editor IRL, so my instinct is to cross things out instead... preferably with a red pen :sneaky:
    Fold likes this.

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