I’m running a Deathwatch campaign for some of my friends. While I really love the Deathwatch system, there is a set of rules that have always bugged me about it – the Medicae rules. You see, to apply Medicae, you roll a skill roll and then heal your Intelligence bonus worth of Wounds from an ally. This is simple enough, but then it gets weird. At the end of each battle, you are treated as having one Injury worth the wounds you took in that battle (basically). You can only use Medicae once, against each “set” of battle-wounds. Whatever you don’t heal in that battle, goes into a category of treated, yet unhealed wounds, that my friends call “phantom wounds” that sticks around, unhealable, for a while. It’s really clunky, and it doesn’t heal enough. You could be taking some pretty nasty wounds from enemies – there’s tyranids out there doing like 1d10+18 damage with every normal, ordinary attack they make. And they can be making tons of attacks too.
Given that my friends and I dislike (and barely understand) these Medicae rules, and that we love the Space Marine video game, and the Dawn of War series, where Space Marines are more heroic and tough, we decided to house rule healing in Deathwatch to be more like these games, particularly Space Marine (the third person action game from Relic). Here’s the houserules I came up with, and which they approved of, and that we’ll be using in our game from now:
WE HAVE PURPOSE
The Space Marines are the Imperium’s finest soldiers, and it takes more than cosmetic wounds to keep them from a battle. At the end of each fight, the Space Marines recover all of their lost Wounds, without need for a Medicae test. They do not recover Critical Damage. Critical Damage behaves differently for them, as well. Each time the Space Marines suffer Critical Damage, it accumulates and remains. So if a Battle Brother suffers 2 Critical Damage in one battle, and in another he suffers 2 more, he has taken 4 Critical Damage total in that mission. He suffers only the Critical Effects of the damage taken at the time – so each of those times, he suffered the Number 2 Critical Effect on the table, and not the Number 4. We tally the Critical Damage this way primarily to see how near to death a Battle Brother is.
Critical Damage can be mildly restored with a Second Wind, or fully restored by Extended Care as normal.
Between combats, the Space Marines can attempt to slow down and recover briefly before continuing the Mission. Each character can attempt a Second Wind. Each of them rolls a Toughness Test. Depending on how critical their mission is, the tension they’re experiencing, and the current need for haste, the Toughness test will be either Challenging (+0), Difficult (-10) or Hard (-20). If successful, they can each roll to recover 1d5 points of Critical Damage. Each Second Wind taken in a mission is harder than the previous. The effects of the Critical Damage are not ignored – lost hands do not grow back – but Death can be prevented.
The following actions can only be taken by the Space Marines.
So that Stun can be used by more characters and more tactically, change it like so:
Subtypes: Add “Ranged”
Change Text To: “If the active character is unarmed or armed with a melee or ranged weapon, he can strike to Stun instead of attempting to land a killing blow. The attacker makes a Difficult (-10) Weapon or Ballistic Skill Test. If the attack succeeds, the character and the target roll Opposed Tests, with the active character using Strength (for melee) or Perception (for ranged) and the target using Toughness to oppose regardless of what type of weapon hit him. If the attacker succeeds, the target is Stunned for 1 round per degree of success that the attacker scored on his Opposed Test, and takes 1 point of Fatigue per 2 degrees of success.”
Type: Full Action
Subtypes: Attack, Melee, Ranged
The character puts an enemy out of its heresy and misery with the fury (or mercy) of the Emperor. This attack can only be made against targets that are Stunned. It is resolved as a single attack against one Troop (but not Horde) or Elite target (but never against a Master target). There may also be other Special Characters that cannot be Executed this way. The character rolls a Difficult (-10) attack with Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill. If successful, the target is instantly killed and the battle brother recovers either 1 Critical Damage (but not any effects – lost limbs are not suddenly regrown!) or 1d10 Wounds at his choice.