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Shadow War: Horus Heresy

Shadow War: Armageddon

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#1
Doghouse

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Shadow War: Horus Heresy
 
This is a bolt on system I am developing to allow you to fight small conflicts in the setting of the Heresy. For the most part the rules themselves of the game remain the same but with some additional features that enhance Astartes and give a slightly more in depth and credible experience adding a few tactical elements to consider.
Initially the system will be presented as fairly generic but as I progress I'll be adding Legion specific rules, Special Operatives, Scenarios, Armour Variants, etc.
 
The Roster 
In addition to the game's main roster that comes with the set I have created an attrition roster. This secondary sheet is used to chart the attrition factor of the conflicts you will take part in. The mindset of this system isn't about forces fighting in optimum conditions supported by fleets of supplies and endless resources, it's about survival in the bloodiest conflict mankind has ever witnessed. This is a rough first draft that I am currently altering to make it a bit more user friendly.
 
k53bkm.jpg
 
This secondary roster sheet is used to manage damage that your unit will take during the fighting which I will go into more detail about a little later on. The core of the system is taking the idea of battle plate a bit further and making it part of the between game management system as well as effecting the actual games themselves. I've put this attrition roster together using paint but it should do the job quite well but it's just the first draft, I'm already altering this to make it visually easier to read.
 
The way the system differs from regular Shadow War is that over time individual armour parts take damage and you are forced to attempt makeshift repairs as you progress without the support of tech adepts or artificifers, you are firmly entrenched in the combat and it takes into account that Astartes were never meant to fight other Astartes in huge conflicts. This is a whole new realm of warfare the Imperium never really seen on this scale and you have mankind's finest battling it out cutting supply routes, capturing objectives and going all out to destroy their former brothers.
 
Targeting Armour Parts
 
Battle plate is composed of several pieces of reinforced ceramite plates as we all know but the suit itself is designed to enhance the Astartes beyond even what they would be capable of. In a well supported conflict this would be a boon but cut off and no access to supplies this edge would slowly erode over time, parts that may have been temperamental under the most ideal of conditions may fail without correct maintenance, ammo runs low and power supplies begin to run low turning the suit into something far less effective in combat.
To represent this when an Astartes takes a hit roll on the hit location table below to see where the damage is taken. This is the basic out in the open hit box system and I have a few others I am working on to represent Astartes obscured by cover which I'll post later.
 
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The attrition profile of the Astartes can be seen below.
 
mkkcoj.jpg
 
This is divided up into simple sections.
 
1: Name of the Astartes
 
This is a simple box that corresponds to the original roster sheet, you just put the name of the model it represents into this box. You could put a name in here or just a simple number corresponding to the original roster.
 
2: Armour Hit Box
 
Once you have worked out the area hit then you make the armour save as normal. If the save is failed tick off the first top box and that area now has taken damage, all the while that box is ticked that area suffers a -1 to the save. So all parts start out as you would expect at 3+, you roll to hit as normal then roll to determine the location of the hit. You then apply any armour modifiers of the weapon that hit it, so lets say -1 for example which would normally reduce it to 4+, if that area was already damaged then you add an additional -1 taking it to 5+.
The second box marked with a skull is compromised damage, this means the integrity of that armoured part is beginning to fail. So should a damaged area take a second failed save then you tick this box adding a further -1 to any armour modifiers in that area.
 
 3: Attrition Scale
 
When ever you tick a skull armour hit box then the battle plate systems start to become compromised. This can have a long term effect on the effective fighting capability of the Astartes and parts will need to be replaced. If left unchecked the model will start to see a reduction in areas like movement, iniative, weapon skill, etc. The longer it is left the more the more vulnerable the Astartes will become, I still need to get my hands on the rules but these will be able to be repaired using Promethium Crates, so you will trade one token in and get say 8 points to repair damage to your Astartes as a unit for example. The idea behind this is to add an element of tactical thinking to the campaign side of it, do you add additional weapons, Astartes or equipment for example or do you repair the armour of that one guy that is starting to slow the unit down. Every time a skull icon hit box is ticked off in a game you tick off one from the attrition scale starting at the skull box at the top and working down. I'm still working on the details but higher strength or damage weapons will probably knock off multiple attrition scale boxes, the idea being that if you survive a hit from say a lascannon you may be able to fight on but it's going to hurt a lot.
 
4: Weapon Hit Box 
 
This works in a similar way to the armour hit boxes except it's more of a chance of a weapon malfunction when you do ammo rolls or roll to 1 to hit on a close combat attack. I'm still fleshing out the details on this one as I need to see the rules in person but it'll be something along the lines of -1 to hit modifiers and increased chance to fail ammo rolls. 
 
This is all WIP at the moment but I will have the full rules up soon.
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#2
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I don't have time to read this (bed time and all that) but I already like the looks of it. Will check it out tomorrow!


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#3
Sete

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Gonna be honest that does not seem user friendly.

In what circumstances does the marine die?

#4
Doghouse

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It's basically more of a slightly more advanced version of the original rules but ever so slightly more paper work but that is managed by the attrition roster. In practice it should be fairly straight forward it just means you refer to your attrition sheet as well as your roster and a simple additional roll is added to hit rolls. Think of this as my first rough thoughts on the system though as I still need to get the main rulebook.

 

Marines in SW:A die just like everyone else on the injury table so that won't be a problem there as it will play not that far removed from the basic game, it's more about additional minor resource management and keeping the squad effective in games. As it's intended to be purely marine vs marine it should be pretty straight forward but it should add an extra layer of strategy to the game.

 

Best way to think of it is starting out on Istvaan, your troops are fresh, well equipped and all set to give Horus a good kicking then the unthinkable happens all hell breaks loose.

With the initial battle over you are now on the run, ammo is low, your suit's system's are compromised and are shutting down and armour plates have been structurally damaged making them less effective. Now you are fighting to survive, the inches thick ceramite crafted to protect you is now slowly becoming your tomb and there is no sign of rescue.

So the next battle you fight you are at a disadvantage, you can't move as fast as you did previously because power coils got shot out in your pack's reactor, your shoulder pad has huge gaping holes in it from the bolter rounds of the enemy, you need to gather resources to return to full fighting strength to patch your suit up the best you can.

The only other source of battle plate components are the enemy, kill a few and you may be able to salvage some ammo or replacement parts or you might be able to scavenge pieces from the battle field itself from the dead.

 

Istvaan is just an example though, it could represent any prolonged conflict where your supply routes are cut off or are dwindling. Think of it like how Heresy pattern armour came about, when you have the forges and factories Mk 4 is possible to mass produce but as the war went on it became harder and harder to maintain in the field so modifications were made and parts were replaced that resulted in the Mk 5 Heresy armour. 

 

Once the core attrition system is fixed in place I'll look at how the campaign works, the first being regular play with territory control added then the second being survival where you start out maxed out but can't get additional resources quite as easily.

 

Thinking about it actually in it's simplest form it's kind of like monsters in AoS, as you take wounds your profile drops but in this example this is carried over to the next game if you don't get it fixed. 


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Updated the attrition roster sheet to make it a little more user friendly.

 

x95wj.jpg

 

I know this seems like the attrition system seems like an additional layer that may not be needed but the main problem with converting SW:A to the Heresy is that the simplest way is purely to make skill charts to represent the various Legions. I will be doing that later on but to be honest you're not making a Heresy version of SW:A by just doing that because it's just Chaos Marines with options to different skills.

The main area I see SW:A suffering is the lack of a decent campaign and progression system, it looks like a fun game but I want something I can sink my teeth into more akin to the original Necromunda where the battles I fight matter more than just collecting caches. This forms the core of setting it apart from 40k.

 

Gave in and ordered the game minus the scenery and models on ebay for a little under what I would have paid for it complete and new, not an amazing deal but I'm not worried about the models and the terrain anyway to be honest.


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So delving into this a bit further, minus the rules at the moment, the campaign system is coming across as a fairly standard and unimaginative affair. While I do like the idea of the Promethium Caches I don't think it's a great system for campaign victory conditions. In the basic game it potentially means you could only have four games if a more experienced player is up against a newer player. So I think the key here is to turn the Promethium Caches into a resources token rather than a victory condition.

 

There are two key areas missing from SW:A from the original Necromunda and I think this is for simplicity's sake because the main game is open to all boxed infantry sets of all races potentially. I can completely understand why they did this because it makes sense, you don't want to get bogged down with campaign rules for each and every race but when you are sticking to just Astartes that is no longer an issue. The second is the removal of experience, again I get why they did this but I feel that by removing these two elements it takes away from the meat of the campaign which is something that greatly shorten the life span of the game system. Obviously when 40k 8th comes out they don't want everyone sticking to SW:A which you can play with a single box of models, they want people playing their flagship game.

 

So for now I am looking at ways to port over experience from Necromunda and using the Promethium Caches as a sort of token that can be traded in for actions between games such as buying new gear, "hiring" new kill team members, capturing territories and repairing damaged gear. The way I am approaching the first campaign victory is through a Domination condition where you set kill team value and the first team to reach that value has effectively secured the region for their forces.

I'm also looking at adding some Great Crusade weapons and wargear such as Breacher shields and Volkite weapons. 

 

I'm looking at optional rules for armour marks as well right now to find simple but balanced ways to incorporate them into the game. Off the top of my head Mk III armour is historically known as having stronger armour on the front and slightly weaker on the back. Models in SW:A have 360 degree targeting but when it comes to Overwatch you are limited to a 90 degree fire arc measuring from the back of the base. What I am toying around with here flipping that 90 degree idea so it faces the back and adding a rear facing to models, so in the case of the MKIII armour you get a 2+ save on the front with a 4+ save to the rear and when in close combat.

Another idea I was toying around with allowing MKII armour to overcharge, because it is a very industrial and brutal design compared to those that came later the idea would be you can add one to strength or maybe movement when performing an action at the cost of a chance of causing structural damage to the suit.

 

The most important thing for anyone to consider when making systems for SW:A is leave the actual core game play for the most part alone, one of the key elements of game design is that the more conditions you add the greater the chance the player will come across situations you never accounted for.


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This looks interesting.

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WIP Index Astartes Articles:

  Gatekeepers: http://www.bolterand...pers/?p=4192488

  Harvesters: http://www.bolterand...ters/?p=4192489

  Sons of Aetius: http://www.bolterand...tius/?p=4192491

 

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#8
Brother Tyler

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Is there a plan to include similar concepts for other factions represented in the Horus Heresy setting (and playable in a Shadow War: Armageddon level of game)?

To be honest, while this is interesting, I see it as more of a campaign-specific mechanic for a true (other "Shadow War: Horus Heresy") set of rules. This is much like a Vengeance is Victory concept. More importantly, every faction playable in the setting/campaign would need similarly crafted rules (not exactly identical, but similar in scope and effect).

What the Horus Heresy setting really needs to be played at the Shadow War: Armageddon level is rules for the factions (i.e., how to make your Alpha Legion kill team different from Dave's Thousand Sons kill team, with both different from Steve's Solar Auxilia kill team). It's the rules for the kill teams for each factions that are really important, not campaign gimmicks. The campaign gimmicks are nice add-ons further down the road to breath some fresh life into the core game.

And you got ripped off on eBay, especially considering the latest news about both print and digital versions of the book soon to be available separately.

Okay, switching into more helpful mode...

To be honest, I wouldn't worry about the name "promethium." The basic mechanic works well enough whether you call it "promethium" or "glory" or "whammies" or whatever. I have a personal bias in this, though, in that I think that most wargames systems that include campaigns and character/model advancement see models advancing far more rapidly than they do in real life. This is one of my personal hang ups (it's a game, after all). So I'm more partial to systems that give slower advancement (which the official one does). However, if I were to compromise, I would combine the Necromunda experience system with the Shadow War: Armageddon system. Experience is gained and, whenever any models have enough experience to roll for an advance, the player must remove a promethium for each character that checks on the advance chart. There would be some tweaks to the Necromunda system, but I think that's a solid compromise between that system and the promethium system.
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#9
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I would be more interested on a set of rules closely related to SW:A

I did some "kill team" rules for AoS but it didn't caught up because i not a pdf magician.

I might try something of the sort for HH closely related to SW:A.

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Brother Tyler: This would be more of a marine on marine system initially rather than incorporating other elements of the Heresy. You could add Admech, Solar Auxlia using/adapting the regular Skitari or Guard rules and it would work fine. The armour system here is just to go into greater detail and would work fine against non power armoured units, what I am aiming for is the gritty desperation and painting battle plate in a more credible light other than just a 3+ save from an Astartes perspective. 

Units for SW:A are pretty simple to create rules for as it's all down to who has access to what skill trees and wargear types if it came down to it. I think that anyone going into SW:A expecting an engaging and compelling campaign and development system is in for a bit of a shock. It's a nice game, don't get me wrong, but I think Necromunda nostalgia may be clouding a few people's minds. There is absolutely nothing to stop people using the vanilla rules and units and just using Heresy miniatures as stand ins to represent the Heresy but to me I can't see the point because it doesn't really change anything and so I want a bit more of an Astarte experience from my marines.

 

Best way to think of this way of playing I am developing is to look at the scale of the game itself. Then you have the setting, it's very easy to think of the Heresy as two huge well supported armies going head to head with every conflict being a legendary battle between good and evil with mighty heroes clashing in epic battles but the cold hard truth is that the lore would suggest otherwise.

The whole reason there was an opportunity to corrupt Horus was because the Emperor withdrew to the palace to work on the webway that would allow the Imperium to resupply their over stretched forces, his project was about extending the reach of the Crusade and maintaining their grip on the worlds they have conquered and moved on from. Then you have the betrayal of the Admech where loyal forge worlds turn to the Warmaster and when you are that far from Terra having your local hardware store refuse you access to the stock and possible shoot at you for trying is not a really great place to be. 

SW:A is combat at the smallest level, it's squad vs squad rather than army vs army. You could so easily just use regular chaos marine rules, add in minor Legion rules for flavour and you're good. Problem is this is a huge opportunity missed to deliver an IA style narrative and define the difference between the 40k setting and the Great Crusade era.

 

In a 30k game you might have two armies clashing over a city, it's a fairly clean cut affair. One army completes it's objectives, the other loses and you move onto the next battle with some sort of narrative over the top and no worrying about what you would do with that city now you hold it.

This way of using SW:A is more about the untold stories of the individual squads and adding a layer of credibility to your battles. In the same narrative as the 30k game both sides could be desperately fighting for the resources of a city because their supply chains are cut off, perhaps a near by forge world has remained loyal to the Imperium and is being besieged by the traitors. So you have your squad, you are pretty much cut off because the conflict on the planet is not going well for either side and your campaign represents both sides attempts to claim a small area of say a city or a battle zone for the loyalists or traitors. The difference is Battle of the Bulge to Saving Private Ryan, one focuses an entire battle of the war while the other follows on the individuals in the conflict. It's like making your own Black Library story.

 

I totally agree with the progression system, it's one of my biggest problems as well. So many times I've played Necromunda and Mordheim in the past only to see one gang/warband go rocketing ahead in skill and becoming stupidly powerful due to one guy becoming rambo in a matter of a couple of games. Easiest way around this is to use the Necromunda experience system and just increase the points needed to level up to a skill or stat increase.

I think the experience system could be used pretty easily especially as there are so few missions for SW:A right now, it'd just be a matter of adding XP conditions to the result then using Promethium Caches as a means to get points for gear or new squad members.

 

As for the ebay purchase, it's all about perspective mate. Given that I had no way of getting the rules at the time whatsoever I think the gamble paid off because I am getting the tokens, cards and everything else thrown in. I could have waited just like everyone else or I could have paid over the odds for a complete set but at the end of the day with no hard facts and not wanting to take the chance of a digital copy I went for it and am happy with my purchase. :)

 

Ironic part is in a few months time I expect everyone will be too wrapped up in the 8th Edition release to worry about SW:A. :D

 

Sete: Well that is what I will be taking a bash at here mate, the armour system here is just an extra flavour to marines SW:A I will still have to add in the different ways to define Legion A from Legion B. Pretty much everything else from the original game stays the same.

 

 


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#11
Kristoff

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I would be more interested on a set of rules closely related to SW:A

I did some "kill team" rules for AoS but it didn't caught up because i not a pdf magician.

I might try something of the sort for HH closely related to SW:A.

As an helpful tip, you don't have to be a pdf magician for this.  If you can set up a Word or Publisher file or even Google Docs, there are programs that can act as a PDF converter without Adobe being on your system, and many are even free of charge.  Furthermore, Google Docs and some other online storage systems will allow you to choose which format to download the file in, including PDF.  It's actually something I've done to include a link to my LinkedIn page on my pdf resume that my Bullzip PDF printer did not do.


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#12
Doghouse

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Well now I have the rules in hand I now get why they omitted the power armoured marines but oddly enough the armour system above would work extremely well representing a force of Astartes sent in as a sally force trying to break through. From what I am seeing even if you do make it past the vast hordes of Orks and their huge cannons lining the walls of the Hive once you are in you are pretty much cut off and left to fend for yourself.

 

The experience system is pretty simplistic and although it works fine to a degree I personally think there is a lot of room for growth. Tacking on the Necromunda one should be fairly simple by adding further victory rewards to missions.

 

Weird bit is that I can't see any mention of chapter tactics on first glance, the only one I can see is the Space Wolves Scouts who can't take Novitiate Scouts but can access special weapons instead. Both these and regular Scouts get ATSKNF but beyond that first point I can't see any difference unless I am missing something. 


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#13
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Found the chapter rules under Skills, seems to be just different sets ticked depending on the chapter.

 

Seems like the easiest way to represent legions would be use the Chaos Marines with Legion specific sets of skills (maybe ATSKNF or if a purist Mark of Undivided for the +1 Ld) in the campaign side of things then Legion specific operatives and maybe a special skill of your own choosing to set them a bit further apart.

The only downside of adding additional skills is a matter of balancing and coming up with something that is not already covered by war gear, might an idea to give them one of the existing skills straight from the start.

 

So Night Lords might all get the Ambush skill, World Eaters might get Crushing Blow, Alpha Legion might get Infiltration, etc. Alternatively assign a single Skill catagory to each Legion then let them have a free random roll each on that table at the start of the campaign.


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So looking at the basic Astartes I've made the initial changes to the stat line. These are basically small modifications but if you wanted there is nothing to stop you using the base Chaos Marine profile and slapping on ATSKNF. The logic behind these minor changes is partially from a lore perspective and partially about balance. As I am looking at marines vs marines here to begin with this is a very balanced and simple change, all I have done is increase movement which will be important for the attrition system I'm working on and used Mark of Undivided to the profile.

The leadership increase rather than ATSKNF is to underline one of the biggest flaws in my eyes of the Great Crusade Era Astartes over their modern 40k counterparts in that they were not conditioned warriors and were a lot more human with all the failings that comes with that.

ATSKNF in SW:A basically allows them to treat pinning test as though there is a friendly kill team member withing 2" of them.

By removing this it makes them feel less conditioned to fight on no matter what, you could argue that Astartes of that era didn't feel fear but removing it as a game mechanic it makes pinning a more of a problem or boon depending on what side of the shooting you are on and adds the uncertainty of marine vs marine being a completely new form of warfare at the time.


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Next we have skills, these can be used to create flavour to your Legions and there are probably a number of ways you could go about this and to be honest I don't really think there is a vastly differing right or wrong way of using these to represent your Legionaries. It's all about person taste and what works for you. Taking the above as a basic stat line you have a number of options.

 

Firstly you can alter the above chart moving the ticks around to find the skills that best represent how you see the Legions, there already exist examples in the main rule book of the likes of Blood Angels and Ultra Marines so these are good starting points. The method I would prefer tho is adding a flavour right off the bat, which automatically gives you one skill for free as a starting point based of the nature of your Legion but sticking to the above picture for all Legions.

 

Scout Skills

 

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Now this is the skill table from the rule book, at first glance you could say well there is our Blood Angels skills right there lets run with that. The problem with this is if you compare this with the Astartes skills above you can clearly see they have altered these to represent Scouts rather than full Astartes. There is a clear formula for these charts in that they follow a 3, 4, 6 pattern, so Troopers get 3 skills, Specialists get 4 and Leaders 6.

We can however see a clear indication of how they have put an emphasis on Ferocity for the main skill being available to all and the likes of Stealth and Guerrilla being used to represent the more covert nature of Scouts.

 

So based on this this presents us with the most logical step and gives us the following table for a Blood Angels Astarte.

 

mr7o1d.jpg

 

If you wanted to take this a step further below you will see a skill with a red tick, what I would be inclined to do to set the Legions apart further is at the beginning when you create your Kill Team at the start of your very first game roll once on that skill table for each marine in your team and they have that skill permanently added to their set of skills as a Legion Bonus to represent their training in their preferred school of warfare.

 

 

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Not had too much free time to properly sit down and work on this of late but worked out how cover comes into play and how the armour takes damage in a bit more detail.

 

The damage works as a simple addition to the existing shooting rules, so you declare a shooting action, then work out cover and other shooting modifiers then roll on the hit location table then roll to wound, make your save and work out if the armour has taken any damage.

 

Hit Locations

 

So lets say you have shot at an enemy marine, you've scored a hit, normally you would roll to wound then the target takes an armour save but we are inserting another stage to determine where the target is hit to work out the attrition damage to the armour.

Below you can see the targeting chart. This assigns the potential damage to a specific location regardless of whether it causes a wound or not.

 

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To determine where they are hit and the effect any terrain has on that impact. So you roll 1D6 and consult the above. If the target is in cover then it will negate the damage to the armour but not any potential wound to the marine.

 

So the following process is used.

 

1: Declare shooting

2: Work out to hit modifiers

3: Roll for damage location

4: Roll to wound

5: Armour save


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#17
Brother Tyler

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  • Location:The Temple of Oaths
  • Faction: VIIth Legion
It might be more intuitive to just use the visible portions of the model as the possible hit locations when models are in cover or partial cover. This would require a model's eye view, but would seem less restrictive and artificial than a diagram. You'd have to figure out a way to randomize from the visible portions, but that would probably be a matter of comparing the relative sizes of those portions to a d6 (for example, a head is smaller than a torso, so would have fewer results on a d6).

And a model that is in partial cover might have the legs exposed and not the rest of the body (sort of like in that scene in Full Metal Jacket where Cowboy gets plugged through the window).

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Shadow War: Armageddon

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