When I talked about getting rid of the separate "Ballistic Skill" of 40K, and just going with one "Weapon Skill" for both shooting and melee, Johnwhytenz suggested having WS modifiers for weapons. An idea I wasn't so sure about. That's because I'd previously played around with the idea of having a '+BS' stat for weapons to tweak their accuracy up or down, but had discarded it as being too complex.
But in reality a weapon's accuracy plays a huge roll in how easy or hard it is for a soldier to hit their target, and giving them the same chance to hit with a pistol as a shotgun just wouldn't be right. Nor should a human have the same chance to hit a target with both a fist and a sword. So I rethought how a model ought to interact with its weapons. In doing so, I think I've come up with a workable system that not only works for ranged weapons, but melee weapons as well. Without requiring nearly as many special rules to reflect weapon differences.
Now first up, this system is going to add some complexity to the game, and there's no real way around that. So will the changes I'll be testing to the range/visibility modifiers. So to balance that additional complexity, some complexity will have to be removed from other parts of the game. Namely movement through difficult terrain, some of the cover rules, and whatever else I can comfortably cut out to simplify play.
I've already reduced the number of levels in our armor penetration chart to something that will probably be more to Eriochrome's liking, and it will once again be identical to the to-hit chart in all but the labels used for auto successes/failures.
Ok, so that said, let's see how models will interact with their weapons.
Simplified Model Types
First, as you can see in the top-right of the chart below, there's only going to be one version of each troop type (and only 7 model stats). Instead of the Trooper->Sergeant->Lieutenant->Captain sequence with increasing WS/BS/S/Ld stats, all troops of the same species and armor type will be identical in stats. It will be the weapons they carry that differentiate them instead.
|Still working on stats for the other weapon categories.|
Ranged Weapon Interaction
When you shoot at a target, the WS of the model is added to the Accuracy (Ac) of the ranged weapon they're carrying to determine their combined WS. It's this combined WS that is compared to the target's Evasion to determine your to-hit roll.
For armor penetration, you just use the weapon's AP.
For kill tests, you just use the weapon's Power (Pw).
Melee Weapon Interaction
Just like with shooting, you combine the model's WS with the Ac of the weapon (for both offense and defense). If the Ac of the weapon is zero, then all you have is your base WS to work with. Note the shields that have no AP or Power (Pw), but which can be used to raise your WS when you're defending.
For armor penetration, you combine the model's Strength (S), with the weapon's Armor Penetration (AP). If the AP is zero, you just have to use your base S stat by itself (good luck!).
For kill tests, you combine the model's S with the Power (Pw) of the weapon. The highest you can go is 9, since it's a D10 test, and I don't think we want auto-kill weapons just yet. If the weapon doesn't have a power, you're stuck with your model's base S stat.
I'm not sure how it will play just yet, but I like the conceptual purity of it. In part because it allows all weapons, both shooting and melee, to use the same stat format, and avoid special rules like "this weapon doubles your strength".