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Armour piercing and horde questions


I have two questions, as i prepare to run MC3.

  1. AP and penetration - how does it work really ? if i have 5 soak from armour and someone hit me with 3 damage with AP 1
    a) it deals 1 damage ? because AP1 “ignored” 1 soak of armour
    b) it deals 0 damage ? because AP1 “ignored” 1 soak of armour, but i still have 4 armour left, and attack deals only 3 damage
  2. About Hordes
    a) can i choose to split hordes to individual troopers (or merge them to a horde) between turns (i assume no)
    b) how i should run simple attack with horde. Let’s assume that i (as a GM) have a horde with 3 troopers, and there are to player characters. I announce attack with a horde - 2 attacks to one PC, one attack to the other. and roll 3d20 (one standard+2 helpers). If it hits, are all three attacks are successful ?
    c) what will happen if one PC wants to dodge. i still roll 3d20 and this the target roll for opposed test ? (so it is way harder to dodge / parry attacks from a horde)

If the weapon has AP1, this only is activated if the damage dice show the Dark Symmetry Symbol (DSS).
If you roll for example 6[DSD] damage, coming up with: 1, 1, 1, 0, DSS, DSS, that means you have caused 3 points of damage with Piercing 2 (each DSS activates AP1 cumulatively).

If you have 5 armour soak, 3 damage will not go through in most cases, unless you spend additional Momentum for Piercing (2 per Momentum) or roll lots of DSS (which don’t cause damage, unless you have Vicious X on your weapon quality, too).

If you have 5 armour soak and didn’t roll lots of DSS and did not spend Momentum for Piercing, 3 points of damage will be absorbed completely by the armor, nothing going through.

So that would be your answer b), but not the “because” part, because you need to state how many Effects (DSS) you have rolled to know how strong your actual piercing would be. AP1 does not activate at all, if you didn’t roll a DSS.

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I think a horde remains a horde till only one member is left. And by definition a horde can only perform one action in a round, cannot perform reflexive actions at all (except Interpose) and a horde has as many d20 for an action as many member it has. (4 members = 4d20s, max 5d20)
So a horde can’t perform 2 attacks against 2 different targets, they can only perform one attack against one target. (Use the horde like it’s one big NPC)
If a targeted PC wants to dodge the attack of the horde it’s an opposed roll. The PC uses its/his/her Acrobatics skill, the horde uses its full dicepool.

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If you have a number of individual troopers, say for example 5, then each could take an individual turn, rolling only 1d20 for their action in a combat round.
You might decide that 4 of them are supporting the fifth by creating a Horde. Then the whole Horde has only a single turn, but rolls 5d20 for their action.

a) If you want to split up an existing Horde, that happens when it is the Horde’s turn. If you have a 5 NPC Horde about to act, you can declare splitting it up for example into 1 single Trooper and 2 2 NPC Hordes. After that declaration you proceed by resolving the turns for the now three separate NPC entities in any order you like.
If you want to unite several single Troopers to form a Horde, you can do that at the turn of the first Trooper, let the others join the Horde, then proceed in resolving the turn of the now single Horde actor.

There is no dedicated action given in the MC3 rules for splitting up or forming a Horde. You could consider it the Free Action of “Adjusting Stance” or so, but actually, it does not require any action at all.

b) If you have 2 PCs being attacked by a single Horde of 3 Troopers, the Horde only has ONE (1) action on its turn. You cannot attack both PCs unless you want to split up the Horde somehow.

Case 1 (Horde of 3 attacking single PC): You roll 3d20 for the Horde of 3, possibly more d20 if you bought additional dice by spending Dark Symmetry Points and/or Reloads (if the Horde’s weapons use ammunition). If your attack succeeds (the PC might have used a Response Action to defend, but failed), then you do the damage given for the Horde’s weapon, only ONCE, not for every member of the Horde.
If your attack generated sufficient Momentum for the 2 Momentum spend of “Secondary Target”, you might now apply half the damage to the second PC if that one was within Reach of the first targetted PC.

Case 2 (Horde of 3 splitting up to attack 2 PCs): On the Horde’s turn you decide that it splits up into 1 single Trooper and a Horde of 2. The single Trooper attacks the first PC by rolling 1d20. This attack is resolved completely.
Then the Horde of 2 attacks the other PC by rolling 2d20. This attack is resolved separetely.
Both attacks are separate actions occuring on separate turns.

c) If a PC gets attacked by a Horde, say a 3 NPC Horde, the attack will roll 3d20 (without any additional dice bought), and the Response Action of the PC will roll only 2d20 (without any additional dice bought).
If you have a Squad of an Elite leader supported by 4 Troopers, you would roll 2d20 for the Leader plus 4d20 for the Troopers.
You could buy up to 3 additional d20 for this Squad, so you could roll up to 9d20 on your attack.
Squads are DANGEROUS on the attack.
But Squads don’t get any Response Actions, so they get mowed down rather quickly.

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Sorry for not being precise. In my example i assumed, that i activated AP1 (by rolling one DSS). Does it change Your answer ?
I am not sure if I understand Your explanation correctly, so i will put another example, just to be sure:
5 armour soak
weapon with single ability - AP1
damage roll 1,1,1,DSS,DSS,DSS - 3 damage with piercing 3
not using any additional momentum for piercing effects
How many damage will it do: 1 or 3 ?

3 DSD x AP1 = Piercing 3, ignoring 3 of the 5 Armour soak, leaving 2 Armour soak.
3 damage vs. 2 (remaining) Armour soak = 1 damage getting through.

Thanks for Your answers about Hordes and piercing abilities.
I got it now. Hordes / Squads (as You said) - should be treated as a big creature with additional d20 dice and more health.
So I have couple more questions if i may:

  1. what about damage dealt by hordes ? is it increased somehow, compared to single trooper ? If it is not increased, it is not an obvious choice for GM, to always “merge” troopers into hordes. You get more test dice, but You also lose damage potential (of course assuming that You can hit something with troopers) and hordes are easier to hit (or to be more precise, single PC needs only one successful test to do damage to horde, possibly killing more than one trooper. Compared to two successful tests needed to hit two separate troopers)
  2. Regarding Your comment about response actions:

But what about Dark Symmetry Points used to enable Response actions ? Is it not allowed for hordes ? (or even troopers ? - i cannot find anything about this in rulebbok)
3) Can I SPEND momentum for Troopers / Hordes / Squads (three separate questions).
I am sure that SPENDING momentum is possible by Elites and Nemesis NPC, but it is not stated explicitly for troopers / hordes / squads. (For troopers it is written, that they can’t BANK momentum, but there is nothing mentioned about SPENDING momentum

Sorry for those questions. I really went through rulebook couple of times, but not everything is really clear about Hordes (at least for me).

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Damage caused by a succcessful attack by a Horde of Troopers does not increase.
Yes, it is the sensible thing to do for the GM to group Troopers together to form a Horde, because a single Trooper with only 1d20 to roll for actions is not that competent and does not present that much of a threat.

Hordes are “cannonfodder”, they are supposed to go down easily.
That is, why damage against a Horde does propagate from one individual of the Horde to the next. You can easily take out several Troopers of a Horde, and still some of the Horde might be around to act later in the combat - before getting eliminated, finally.

Hordes do get more d20s to roll. And more d20s means a higher chance of getting more Momentum in their attacks.
And that Momentum you can spend for more damage, 1 Momentum = 1 point of damage, for piercing, 2 Momentum = Piercing 2 vs. Armour soak, or to re-roll damage dice, 1 Momentum lets you re-roll all damage dice in a damage roll, that don’t have a result you like, etc.

Hordes generate Momentum, which makes them even more dangerous to PCs than simply by raising their chances to successfully hit a PC in the first place.

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Normally NPCs don’t get to make Response Actions, unless the GM pays 1 DSP for the ability to make such a reaction to an attack per creature that is attacked.

If you attack a Horde of 5 Troopers, you would need to spend 5 DSP to even make the Response Action, which is not guaranteed to succeed.

But for 5 DSP you might introduce yet another Horde of 5 Troopers into the combat scene!

That is, why all the GMs I know, never spend DSP for Troopers to make Response Actions. It will chew away your Dark Symmetry Pool in no time at all, so that it isn’t worth it.

In later 2d20-based games like Infinity and Conan, it is clearly stated, that Trooper-like NPCs and groups of those don’t get Response Actions at all.

So, you could spend 1 DSP to allow a single Trooper to make a Response Action using the Trooper’s single d20, or even spend more DSP to buy the Trooper additional dice to better be able to succeed in the defense, but it is not worth the DSP spends.

Troopers are cannonfodder, designed to go down easily, and there are many more where the eliminated came from.

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Yes, you can spend the Momentum a Trooper or - more likely - a Horde of Troopers generated by an action on all the usual Momentum spends like shifting the target location, re-rolling damage dice, secondary target, etc.
But you have to use it right away, you cannot bank it as PCs can.

I fully understand your problems with the MC3 rules. They are the worst-organised, worst-written rules of the 2d20 line of RPGs. It was often very frustrating having to ask on the old Modiphius forums and (often with much better response) on the old Google+ to get some clarifications.

The later versions of the 2d20 system did state some things much more clearly than MC3.

That said, still, MC3 is my second favorite 2d20-based game, coming very close after Infinity, which is my favorite.

You might consider some house rules, taking some of the later changes to the 2d20 rules and including them into your MC3 game.

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Thank You very much for Your answers.
All is clear (at least at this stage of my understading of this system). Which later implementation of 2d20 system would You recommend to look at (for reference and house rules ideas) ?
i’m currently interested only in MC (mostly because rich theme and some nostalgia of 90s products like 1st edition rpg or doomtrooper card game, which were very popular here in poland).

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Indeed. MC3 was effectively the prototype for the 2d20 System, and the clarity certainly suffered for that, with lessons learnt from MC3 resulting in the various different versions of the 2d20 System now out there (with each game seeming to have a slightly different interpretation of the base ‘roll a bunch of d20’ model). It does need some polishing, but at least the basics are there … somewhere.

And that nostalgia is what got me into the KickStarter! :slight_smile: On top of which, I’ve liked lifepath style chargen since I picked up a Traveller set back in the day!

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