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Melta - Is it a modifier or a profile change?

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This came up from a dumb article on BOLS and seems to be centered on the linguistic interpretation that anything changes something is a modifier... except when we arbitrarily claim that certain changes are not modifiers.


With plasma weapons we get 2 profiles.  From a logistics perspective, the 3 stats that are changed when moving from normal to supercharged are likely made more clear with a 2nd stat line than having a single profile line with a weapon tag like we get with Rapid Fire.  So for me this makes the most sense to have 2 profiles for easy reading.  This is one example of the "except this change" phenomenon.


Rapid Fire could have also been written as a second profile with half of the range and the increased number of shots.  But since we haven't seen any rules yet that reduce the number of attacks, that makes rapid fire a very simple modifier which can be written in the shorthand weapon tag.  This is a grey area modifier because there is no layering of rules interactions yet.


Melta could have also been written with 2 profiles, the second with a shorter range and the higher damage.  But because of all of the different rules that modify damage there is some confusion on what exactly is happening with melta when it interacts with those other rules.


In practice, when selecting a target and determining range, we identify if the melta weapon is getting the melta damage almost as if we were selecting a different profile.


We have other examples of weapons that have variable damage + a constant which would not be treated as a modifier if there were other modifiers being applied.


However if melta is considered a damage modifier triggering the Commentary rules, then the melta damage would be added in after other modifiers which seems weird to me.


Anyway, enough of my rambling.  How are you running it?

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You can say it's "dumb" but the actual rules (with the designer's commentary) are pretty clear and as near as I can tell, the author the BOLS article has it right (RAW).


Here's all the relevant text that applies to this situation:





So I mean it's pretty clear here.


-Modifiers change numerical values from one value to another.

-Melta changes the damage characteristic from d6 to d6+x. It is therefore a modifier.

-<Rule> that changes damage characteristic to "0" is also a modifier. 

-Modifiers are cumulative, so both modifiers apply. "But which one happens first?" you ask.

-Changing damage characteristict to "0" is applied "before any other modifiers".

-Melta rule then adds 2 to it (0+2=2), as it was aforementioned that modifiers are cumulative.


Plasma (and other similar) guns, are not modifiers, despite your claim that they were presented that way for logistics reasons.  They are effectively 2 different weapons (presented as two different ways of firing the weapon in what GW calls a "Profile").   Thus, one is not a modifier of the other.  You can think that GW got their own game wrong (I might even be inclined to agree with you), but that doesn't make the BOLS article "dumb" or, for that matter, anyone who plays it that way "dumb".  The author got it right (unless someone shows me information that would reverse my opinion) and when I play in games and tourneys, I will support, advocate, and teach newer players in agreement of this ruling.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, 9x19 Parabellum said:

You can think that GW got their own game wrong (I might even be inclined to agree with you), but that doesn't make the BOLS article "dumb" or, for that matter, anyone who plays it that way "dumb".  



I didn't say the rule was dumb, nor did I say anyone who plays the rule this way is dumb.


I said the article was dumb... and the fact that it is getting ratioed on Facebook suggests I'm not alone in that opinion.


GW has thrown the community for a leap in the past few editions with paradigm shifting rules commentaries.  Most players for the 25 years I've been in this hobby operated under the assumption that fast dice was rolling all bolters in this unit in one throw.  All of us were hit with a curve ball when the commentary on Sister of Battle Miracle Dice came out explaining that fast rolling was rolling all the shots from a single Storm Bolter in one throw with the added implication that you could shoot 4 different units with a single storm bolter.  GW partially reversed course on that change at the start of 10th by no longer allowing you to split attacks from a single ranged weapon.


Additionally in past editions if a unit had a medic ability which reduced the damage of one shot to zero, it really did save you from removing a model.  There wasn't an asterisk denoting that the model was still removed if the shot happened to come from a melta weapon within half range.


The reason for pointing out the Rapid Fire rules is because when the codices start rolling out, we might get rules that interact with parts of the game that we currently don't have layered rules for.  Right now all rules that affect the number of shots increase the number of shots, Rapid Fire, Sustained Hits and Blast.  So it will be interesting to see a rule that is supposed to significantly reduce the number of shots a weapon has be made either be completely useless vs the Rapid Fire rule, or if it will consider the extra shots from Rapid Fire to also be subjected to that reduction modifier.  For example, if that rule was applied in the same way as melta it would have a tremendous impact on the number of shots from an IK Warden's Avenger Gatling Cannon and almost no impact on an IK Paladin's Rapid Fire Battle Cannon.


Mechanically, supercharged is +1 S, -1 AP, and +1 Damage for every plasma weapon that has it, which is why I likened it to a modifier, even though it is not treated like a modifier in game.  An additional reason for handling supercharged plasma the way GW did likely has to do with the Hazardous tag.  Every weapon that is shown with multiple profiles has a significant deviation with more than a single stat or other rules between the different profiles.  Which is why I believe "ease of reading" was a motivating factor.

Edited by ValourousHeart
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