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My party is currently quite strong in combat (specially thanks to an Ogryn Arch-Militant), so it's been hard to make them sweat in combat. The "default" enemies the main corebook gives have laughable stats if I compare them to my party's stats, and I should give them top tier weapons to hurt my players wounds.

I wonder if there's a method or such that allows me to create challenging foes by not just giving them high stats, and making combat more challenging? For now combat is NPCs miss or hit, and when they hit, they don't bypass armour+TB.

I would also like to make the baddies more durable without making it frustrating. For instance, they were once battling a couple of mutants, and the Explorator shot one of them in the head twice with his boltgun. He took all his (15) wounds, but didn't kill him. "How can he take two bolts to the head and not die?" was his question. I couldn't answer, for the mutant didn't even have a helmet. The damage simply didn't do critical damage. The optimal solution would be giving them "weak points" that require some penalty to hit, so that would reward strategy, but I tried this, not giving the mutant a helmet, and it didn't go that well.

Another problem that makes it harder for me, is that they're currently "stranded" in a Hive World, so I can't just make them battle against Dark Eldar, or Daemons. The strongest thing I could pull off would be underhive mutants, slum gangs or arbitrators (if they start messing with the authorities).

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Have you considered vastly superior numbers, ambushes and traps, the use of blackmail as a way of reducing the number of options available to player characters, and the fact that for someone with a powerfully-armed ship with a crew of thousands, hiver scum really shouldn't be more than a temporary inconvenience? – GMJoe Jan 23 '14 at 6:08
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Regarding the wounds, explain that wounds are just a threshold, and damage above that generally leads to 'critical damage' - narrative wise, you could explain that the mutant took all the pellets to his face, which is really messed up now, but the rush of adrenalin is the only thing keeping him going. The rulebook suggests that for regular minions and thugs you can just assume they die at 0 wounds, but for important villans and NPC's, you should wait for a critical to kill them off.

Similar to a question I asked earlier regarding 'boring combat', you could make the combat challenging by having the foes do more than just hide behind cover and shoot. Have one of them attempt to run away to get reinforcements, another try to get to high ground for a better angle and perhaps have one just charge in blindly to knock one of your PC's off their feet. Also, you should remember that the PC's are supposed to be well trained compared to most enemies they face - in your case, hive scum and mutants are just thugs

Finally, being stuck on a Hive World doesn't mean you cannot bring in any other types of enemies - just find ways to work it in to the story. For example, this hive scum gang are really lead by a cultist who is using them to help in summoning a daemon. Or, the Hive World is built on top of some ancient civilization in which some Eldar technoglogy/artifact is hidden and the Eldar have just recently discovered this - they are sending 'covert' teams of eldar to try and obtain it - the sky is the limit =)

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Or maybe the world they're at is a tomb world! – Golokopitenko Jan 22 '14 at 23:37

Experienced or not the Players with a good imagination and interaction can be the difference between a fun or boring RP session regardless of what you do. Just something to keep in mind as this includes your interaction through your creations and imagination for the party to interact with. It sounds to me that you are immensely restricting your self by attempting to follow so close to the book that it's just creating a plateau for the "campaign" (As I like to call it) or role play session.

Anyways... Curve balls are a must to keep the players engaged and having to think on their feet. Example, your players become engaged in combat with a situational roll with the Urban environment on the hive world as they progressed forward attempting to essentially get the hell out of there. Five to Six enemies engage via ranged attacked approximately thirty yards away. If your players are as strong and capable as you say they are the players might just believe that this will be another routine face bashing, with low risk.

However they realize that these particular enemies are significantly more capable, (Not over powered generally unless you want a boss mixed in) A full turn passed and they realize that frontal attacks aren't going to cut it here as they are engaged via an ambush from an alley from left to right crossing the street as they moved forward toward the enemy (like a 1d4 for each side).

Think outside the box (or the core book, etc) Don't limit your players and enemies via a book with stats and numbers for armor value and weapon damage. Think of it as a guide for starting out. As the players progress restricting your self to such limited numbers and specifications are just going to dull things quickly. Enchanted weapons and armor for players, NPC's, Enemies. Enemies should use tactics and be intelligent particularly if they are sentient or of a high intellect. The list goes on.

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