Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ask Domus: Look out Sir Stirring it up!!!

So, I received the following question in an email the other day.  Having been part of a discussion related to this question - I decided to shop it around to some friends and tournament organizers to see how they play it.

What is your rules query?*: 
Pretty simple question really but one I think the community at large needs a
definitive Domus answer on.

Does an independent infantry character get a LoS roll if he is outside of a
unit of 20 infantry models but within 3" from a Magic Missile? (4+ LOS of
course#) - Part A

If yes, does an independent character inside or outside of a unit gain a LOS
roll vs the Lore of Death spells such as Spirit Leech, Fate of Bjuna, and
Caress of Laniph? #2+ or 4+ LOS respectively) - Part B

-Ryan Nicol

Innocent seeming but I know it is full of controversy from previous discussions.

Let me give you some of the backstory and FAQs / rules that caused this discussion.
(*Please note - this discussion took place after the recent silly FAQ about chariot impact hits but was not impacted by that FAQ {other than 1 claim of showing 'intent'}.  The folks arguing for the LoS felt this way prior to that FAQ as well)

From the BRB FAQ
Q: When hits, other than from shooting and close combat attacks, are
inflicted upon a unit how are these hits resolved? (p42)

A: As per the ‘Resolving Unusual Attacks’ box. Note that all
hits resolved in this way will count as shooting attacks for
working out who is hit. 

Resolving Unusual Attacks - pg 42

There are several circumstances in Warhammer that call upon you to inflict hits upon an enemy - spells being an obvious example (the Fireball spell causes D6 Str 4 hits on an enemy unit), as well as thing like the Impact Hits made by a charging chariot (covered in the Special Rules chapter).  Such hits are resolved using steps 4,5 and 6 of the rules for shooting attacks (Domus note - see steps 4,5 and 6 below).   The only exceptions are hits caused by close combat attacks - these are disccused in the CC chapter (pg 46).

Step 4 = Roll to wound
Step 5 =  Saving Throws
Step 5 = Remove Casualties

Then, mix all that in with - Shooting at Lone Characters - pg / 97
If a lone character is hit by a shooting attack of any kind (including shots fired using BS, templates and so on) a "Look out Sir!" roll can be attempted, provided there is a friendly unit consisting of five or more models of the characters troop type within 3".  Roll a D6.  On a roll of 4+, the character has been successfully forewarned or otherwise preserved from harm by his nearby allies - the hit is transferred to a model in the friendly unit (controlling player choice if multiple options).  Otherwise, the hit is resolved against the character as normal.  (*It's important to note the wording here is a fair bit different from the main LoS rules on pg 93.  The big difference being 'resolving the hit on the unit' vs. 'the hit is transferred to the friendly unit')

So - lemme start with some responses from others first and then I will give you my take and why.

Alex Gonzalez - TO from Adepticon.
Part A = Yes
Part B = No
*We had a discussion on the matter which threw this back into some grey areas but did not have time to go through all the components.


Chris Yu - TO from Blood in the Sun and Garagehammer co-host
You're making me do some real work here!

Does an independent infantry character get a LoS roll if he is outside of a unit of 20 infantry models but within 3" from a Magic Missile? (4+ LOS of course)

I would say no. In the entry for 'Magic missiles' on pg 31, it states 'Magic missiles always hit their target automatically', with no references to the 'Look Out Sir!' rule.

Secondly, the FAQ states a character does get a LOS against spells that use templates. Since magic missiles do not use templates, it would not apply. 

The passage in the FAQ causing the problems is: 

Q: When hits, other than from shooting and close combat attacks, are inflicted upon a unit how are these hits resolved? (p42)

A: As per the ‘Resolving Unusual Attacks’ box. Note that all hits resolved in this way will count as shooting attacks for working out who is hit.

I believe this was intended to address dispersing hits among a unit containing a character, and not to grant a LOS! to a nearby character. 

This is despite the FAQ regarding characters getting a LOS! vs impact hits (which I think is a terrible change). While it sets a bad precedent, I don't think it means LOS! rolls are allowed versus magic missile and direct damage spells. It opens the door to all sorts of questions and problems; O&G 'Eadbutt can only target wizards; would that allow a LOS so a non-wizard RnF model would then take the hit?


Grant Fetter - TO from Blood in the Sun

To go by RAW and also following the confusing FAQ....  Then a dude outside of a unit (w/in 3") gets a LOS vs Magic Missiles and Death spells and a dude in a unit does not (LOS for a char in a unit only says template).

Brad Schwandt (Rhellion) - Tourney Gamer and Social Media Junkie
I glanced at that thread before, but I made sure not to look again to give an unbiased "ruling" based on rules, FAQs, and my opinion.

Look out sir rolls are 2+ within a unit for templates only. Look out sir rolls outside of a unit are 4+, but are specifically stated to be for "Shooting Attacks of any kind" p. 97. Magic missiles/Direct Damage spells are not shooting attacks, but they are ranged attacks.

The only spells specifically allowed Look out Sir rolls are Template spells. It's the only place spells are referenced getting a LoS, and it is specific.

Q: Does the ‘Look Out Sir’ special rule apply against all spells that use templates? (p93)
A: Yes.

There is an FAQ that states all non shooting and close combat attacks are resolved as unusual attacks, and "count as shooting attacks for working out who is hit". Only for working out who is hit, but not actually saying they actually count as shooting attacks for all purposes.

The new ruling that characters get LoS rolls vs Impact hits within 3" of another unit has no relevance to the argument for magic missiles/death snipes. Death snipes "pick out" a single model, and are not "distributed as shooting" which is where LoS comes into play.

My answer to the first question is no. My answer to the second question is no.

Johnny Hastings - Fellow Magnificent bastard, Co-host of Pointhammered

Are you asking per the rules, or per what feels right? I'm going with the latter, because the former doesn't seem to make sense quite frequently.

I'd say yes to the magic missile question. It's conceivable that a member of the unit could see the missile coming, and jump in the way.

I'd say no to the direct damage Lore of Death spells. They specifically indicate in their write up that they can single out a character in a unit. It seems clear that the purpose here is to threaten characters, leaving the opponent with nothing to thwart it should they stray into range.

 Domus - Magnificent Bastard, the Ginger Buddha, and Fathammer Recordkeeper

And finally my $0.02.

I argued long and hard on this topic when it initially came up.  It seemed preposterous to me that this situation could occur.  The Lore of Death spells topic came up because I brought it up while trying to play devils advocate and look for other problems this would cause.  If you are allowing 'hits' to gain a LoS outside a unit then you HAD to allow it for these spells as they cause hits and specifically don't disallow a Look out Sir.

I have a lot of feelings on this rule, some carried from previous edition and some are just a feeling of 'what's right'.  I read all of the above responses for input.  I went back through the posts on the initial discussion.  And I just gave myself a few days to sort it out in my head.

Abandoning my feelings and looking at the wording I can only come to 1 conclusion.  And it is the same one I came to initially in the discussion.

Look out Sir is not about determining who is hit.  We know who is hit.  The character was hit.  The FAQ allows the attack ONLY for purposes of determining who is hit.  We already know this so move along, move along.  No Look out Sir for Fireballs.

Caress of Laniph / Fate of Bjuna would then also not get Look out Sir! attempts either.  (*this issue only comes up if you allowed the Look out Sir vs. a Fireball - If you feel that way then you HAVE to allow Look out Sirs vs. these as well IMHO).

Yes, this also means I think that GW's latest FAQ about Impact Hits being eligible for a Look out Sir is utter garbage. 

I was hoping to get a consensus of how the gamers in my area played it and see if maybe we could come to an agreement.  I'm not sure we got there.

Please don't take my answer or anyone else's as a lock, stock and barrel definitive answer.  Think through the rules and come to your own conclusions.  As with any rule discussion- these discussions are intended to occur in cyberspace so they never occur in game.  At the end of the day, I'd just prefer we all play it the same way (even if I don't agree with "that way" being what the rules say).

Good luck and I welcome ANY and ALL feedback.  We'd love to hear how you do play it.



Ryan said...

Domus and everyone else who weighed in; Thank you for taking the time and offering up your opinions.

It seems like the majority in the discussion here based on rules is a NO/NO. From my point of view I like to think of things as if they were to make sense.

To me it would only make sense that if a rank and file dude would sacrifice himself to a bouncing cannonball, a huge rock or a charging chariot (crazy), he would also sacrifice himself to a fireball etc. If I fire a magic missile or direct damage spell and my opponent wants to take LOS rolls in these situations I will let him but based on the discussion here I won't try to take said look out sir rolls myself.

To go back to the Death Spell discussion, these are obviously intended, worded to snipe even if they don't have that special rule. As such I would disagree with my opponent if they wanted to take a LOS against these spells.

What I would like to see from GW. A FAQ stating that independent characters within 3" get a LOS vs magic missiles and direct damage spells. Then errata the death spells to have the sniper special rule.

One thing that wasn't brought up is the Gehenna's Golden Hounds spell. It specifically states characters are allowed LOS rolls for each of the hits as long as the unit contains at least five rank and file models (per errata). This further gives evidence to why the death spells will not nor should not ever be allowed LOS rolls.

Kretning said...

Right now I think I fall in the yes/no camp as well Ryan, and here is why. It seems like you get a LOS when there is some"thing" that can be blocked. A rock, cannonball, flame breath, and just as Ryan and Hastings said the dude could block a magic missile or fireball in the same way. To me that doesn't seem unreasonable.

As for the Gehenna's here is why I think they get an LOS for that spell and not the death ones. It is because Gehenna's summons a "thing"(mechanical dogs)that attack the model, hence the LOS. The death spells on the other hand are less physical and as such they can not be blocked because there is no "thing" to block.

While I am not sure that it makes sense that the RnF can block a chariot I think it does seem to indicate that they could block the magic spells as well.


Dave said...

I liked Johnny's answer best.

The rules are a complete mess, until GW truely get their act together and properly playtest the rules they write in addition to standardising their wording we'll continue to have arguments on these things. ie anything that snipes has the term sniper, LOS worded consistently etc etc

Whoever wrote the latest round of FAQs did so without switching their brain on at all. If you're going to go for literal interprectation of the text as written then you need to be consistent. eg there's no reason why slann (an infantry model) shouldn't be able to cast transformation per the rules. If you look at the fluff then he's on a floating throne but it's not a rules thing.

Also the latest FAQs showed how inept at documentation control the writers were, lots of old FAQs got changed but without the changes highlighted. Most of these make less sense rather than more sense. eg fleeing magic items can't be used, nowhere is it defined what it means to 'use' a magic item so argument that it switches off ward saves etc. Again utter nonsense but bad wording allows that as a literal interpretation and they're going on the literal elsewhere in the FAQ.

So because of that I'd like to see a return to common sense prevailing and Johnny has done that best from the above answers.

Dennis G said...

After looking at the rules and reading the posts I would have to agree with no/no, but I will be clarifying this at the start of a tourney.

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