[RPG] Grenade throwing: when even a miss is usually still a hit


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?

Best Answer

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).