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An 'average' Deathwatch space marine can throw a grenade at a standard range of about 30 metres (which actually means up to 60 metres without incurring a Long Range penalty). On page 151 it is stated that a 'miss' when throwing a grenade

goes in a random direction--see the scatter diagram on page 248.

The scatter diagram on page 248 explains that thrown weapons will scatter up to 5 metres in a random direction.

My point is, a lot of grenades used by the Deathwatch on page 150 have blast radii of 3 or more metres, making the chance of actually missing an enemy with a grenade very small compared to using any other ranged weapon (as any other ranged miss does not scatter within such a short range).

Is this a case of the scatter diagram on page 248 being calibrated for 'normal' humans? I understand many of the Deathwatch rules come straight over from Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy, and a human would only be able to throw a grenade some 20 metres at best, where a scatter of up to 5 metres is much more significant. But for a space marine, a scatter of 5 metres over a distance of 60 metres is minor, especially when the large blast ensures that a miss will still almost always hit.

(In fact, a frag grenade will always hit its target, regardless of the distance thrown! One can throw it at Extreme Range (beyond ~90 metres) with a -30 to-hit penalty, and a miss will still always hit the target due to the 5 metre blast radius)

Rewording of the question: I guess my question is am I reading the rules correctly, and should any modifications be needed?

  • One can argue that the rules work as written, and space marines are indeed lethal with grenades.
  • One can argue that the scatter distance should increase with thrown distance, in which case what's a reasonable house rule for this?
  • Or maybe I'm missing some restriction on thrown weapons that takes this into account. Is there for example a maximum throw range that would prevent the 1000-metre grenade throw?
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Will the answer be "Yes, the scatter diagram is calibrated for normal humans" or "No, use as is." I think you have a good question, but I think you're looking for a house rule. I think. –  javafueled Jun 15 '12 at 14:15
    
I guess my question is "am I reading the rules correctly, and should any modifications be needed?" One can argue that the rules work as written, and space marines are indeed lethal with grenades, or one can argue that the scatter distance should increase with thrown distance, or maybe I'm missing some restriction on thrown weapons that takes this into account. –  ioanwigmore Jun 15 '12 at 14:23
    
Agreed. That's what I read. Unfortunately, the RAW might not account for distance. Surprising, but maybe an oversight... I might turn to other games for ideas. Shadowrun has some robust rules for grenades like overpressure blast, etc. If you must house rule it, turning to other games might provide ideas that are compatible. –  javafueled Jun 15 '12 at 14:28

3 Answers 3

I think that a house rule is possibly the best answer, barring some detail in the RAW that is being missed.

Simple Rule: as the distance thrown doubles, double the scatter. If a 30m throw is a 5m scatter, a 60m throw results in a 10m scatter. Thus for Space Marines hit they have to get it right or throw a larger grenade with a greater blast radius.

Complex Rule: Mathematically determine the cone of scatter as distance extends. Account for hallways or other constrained spaces, e.g., a 40m hallway 3m wide with target at 30m. Account for roll in the scatter (What is the shape of the grenade? Has the user modified it to not roll, spikes or other roll retarder?). Account for overpressure in confined spaces.

I'm not prepared to write the house rule because I'm not sure how crunchy your game is or how crunchy your players like rules.

I might find a common sense middle ground, accounting for confined spaces in scatter and rolling grenades, but drop the math and overpressure damage and just reduce damage by 1/2 on a miss where scatter was called for, at least in confined spaces. In exterior spaces I might reduce damage to 1/4, if it made common sense.

A 1000m throw, while Space Marine's power armor is quite powerful, is something as a GM I may laugh it, but still say,"Yes, but ... you need to strap some kind of booster to it or "over clock" your power armor in some heretofore unknown method at a cost of possible rotator cuff damage to armor or body or both" :) But sure, you can throw it a 1000m. Roll at an -50% to hit and roll X for armor damage and Y for physical damage. If there was some "indirect fire rule" I might invoke that (certainly in the case of a grenade with a booster rocket, but why is the PC considering such an action anyway? Just get a mortar from the chest... Oh wait, different movie).

<evil-gm-laugh>Bwahhahahahahah.</evil-gm-laugh>

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You know, your Complex Rule heading actually reminds me strongly of Space Hulk's flamethrower / grenades in hallways abstraction by way of tiles... That might be the best way to handle it simply. –  lorimer Jun 16 '12 at 19:28

CP2020 has similar grenade mechanics. I think that this is the intention. In the game I run, I've found that it isn't overpowered because:

  • Enemy troops also have grenades
  • Most of the time, players can't throw grenades because they would have to get close, and rifles/SMGs have longer range
  • It encourages players to sneak and then toss in a grenade, rather than just running in guns-a-blazin. Players Sneaking=Good.
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I'm sorry, unless the enemy troops are Chaos Space Marines, they have grenades of a similar power, and they won't be able to throw them as far as a Deathwatch Space Marine. Also like I said, Space Marines can throw grenades up to 90 metres without any penalty, which I would not call 'close' and certainly wouldn't require sneaking. Like I asked, are the Deathwatch grenade mechanics calibrated for normal humans? You seem to be saying yes(?) and that that is the intention and not a problem because in your game involving normal humans there's not a problem(?) –  ioanwigmore Jun 17 '12 at 15:44
    
Sorry, I may be missing some detail of the game-system you're using. I was responding to when you said "making the chance of actually missing an enemy with a grenade very small compared to using any other ranged weapon" i.e. the complaint that grenades are overpowered because they can't miss. I had the same complaint about CP2020 originally. I'm probably missing something about your system. In CP2020, 90m is "short range" since rifles have a range of 450m--I guess your system(Warhammer 40k?) is different. –  Billy Jun 17 '12 at 18:38
    
It's Warhammer 40k yes, where a lot of combat takes place at medium to short range, meaning that the 90m grenade is almost always usable, as opposed to the more realistic 'close range grenade' which requires a lot of effort to make usable. –  ioanwigmore Jun 17 '12 at 19:37

Just don't drop that Melta-Bomb in the back of the truck you're riding in. Oh the post-humanity!

On a serious note, some failure states of the Thrown items can be devastating. Don't think that it has no risk involved at all.

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