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We have played 3 games of Deathwatch now and are getting the hang of it. But my players seem to get hurt a lot.

An example of this is a PC that has 21 wounds received 18 wounds from one enemy attack. He then killed that enemy in one hit. Is this normal? I know the damage is high compared to other RPGs but this seems a little extreme.

Edit: detailed explanation of the above: A Tyranid warrior shoots a devourer and gets 3 hits, and has Storm so doubles hits making it 6D10+18 for the damage - 8 for armour and 8 for toughness bonus. total 6D10+2 damage.

This begs the question of how often character are supposed to die in deathwatch, should I have my players roll spare characters or am I running overpowered encounters.

Looking for specific information on the Deathwatch RPG as opposed to generic RPG information.

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Can you tell us what kind of enemies/hits your players were fighting? Also you were using (armour + 2 x Toughness) for damage reduction right, which is usually around 16-18? This would mean your players get hit for 30-40 damage in one hit, or that there's a lot of armour penetration? – ioanwigmore Sep 18 '12 at 13:23
Basically an example of your player being damaged would be great for us to see if you're reading the rules correctly, or if you're just using very hard-hitting enemies. – ioanwigmore Sep 18 '12 at 13:24

Ok, I think it looks like you are only applying the armour+toughness once to the entire damage taken from the devourer hit, whereas the armour+toughness should be used on every hit seperately.

Due to the Storm quality, 3 hits with the devourer is actually 6 individual hits. Each hit should have the armour+toughness applied to it separately. The devourer's stats are (1d10+6) per hit with no armour penetration. This means that each of your 3x2=6 hits in the example will do

((1d10+6) - armour - toughness) damage.

This is almost no damage to your Deathwatch players! This makes sense, because the devourer is meant to be very high rate-of-fire, causing high damage to unarmoured targets. Armoured targets will barely be hurt at all.

In summary: each hit from a weapon must be resolved individually, with armour and toughness applying every time. You cannot sum up the full number of hits and apply armour and toughness only once.

References: A good example of resolving each hit individually is found in the lower-right example on Page 239 of the Core Rulebook, where it explains that Damage rolls are applied separately for each hit. The technical definition for Damage is explained on Page 250 of the same book, where it explains that "each time a character is dealt Damage...a character reduces incoming Damage by an amount equal to his Toughness bonus. Armour can also help further reduce damage."

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We have be flipping between to two ways trying to decide which is correct. Could you point me to the page in the book where this is explained ? – Skeith Sep 18 '12 at 14:24
@Skeith done! I think before finding those pages we just figured that this way made more sense, as otherwise a Space Marine can be killed by a paperclip if he was hit by enough of them, as they'd eventually overload the armour+toughness value. – ioanwigmore Sep 18 '12 at 14:37
@Skeith and if you still want to scare your players: Genestealers have armour penetration on their claws plus the immense WS to make any fight in close quarters terrifying. – ioanwigmore Sep 18 '12 at 14:39
Thanks :) so in your experience how often does a space marine die ? – Skeith Sep 18 '12 at 14:57
Well, thanks to the ability to 'burn Fate points' to escape certain death, not that often. But our 4-Marine team did complete a 4-game scenario featuring quite a few Genestealers with about 4 Fate points remaining in the entire group, and a new bionic hand and bionic eye. – ioanwigmore Sep 18 '12 at 15:07

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