I have problems with the design of the Plasma, Melta and Flame weapons. They are far superior (while more expansive) than the Bolter. Considering that the Bolter is (IMO) the default Tier 2 Weapon it makes sense, that those weapons (that I think are roughly Tier 3) are stronger.
From all three weapon types I consider the Plasma Weapons the best. They are a plain upgrade to the Bolter without any drawbacks. Lets assume they are the real Tier 3 default Weapon.
So, why Should any Tier 3 character stay with a Bolter? Despite that he might not able to acquire one due to a low influence. But ascending would give access. Sure, you can get a weapon upgrade instead. But the only one that I see are the special Bolter Ammunition. Every other upgrade is available for the special weapons.
So what do I want to archive with the proposed changes? Make the Bolter a valid option for Tier 3+ Characters. This can be archived by changing the existing special weapons and/or allow the Bolter (and other basic weapons like the humble lasgun) to have exclusive upgrades.
Change the special weapons
I think special Weapons should outclass in their special purpose and perform comparable (at best) in default situations.
In short, I would describe the purpose of the special weapons in this way:
- Plasma: High Risk / High Reward against heavily armed targets
- Melta: Short Range Anti-Tank and Fortification Weapon
- Flamer: Short Range Anti-Mob Weapon
Here is a proposed rule change to allow those weapons to continue to excel in their field while reducing their power for generic attacks. In short, I nerf them... This is a first draft, brainstorming, feel free to join.
Plasma: The risk of overheating should be there even for non-supercharged shots. Therefore we add the overheat complication to standard shots as well but reduce the damage to 1 mortal and 1d3 shock. We add +1 to each if a reload was spend for the attack.
Melta: Is too effective against non-vehicles. I would add the Unwieldy trait against non-vehicles. Maybe, also change the AP to -2 and add Penetrating (2).
Flamer: Works almost as intended against mobs (maybe too good). And I have a hard time to find a fitting adjustment. I assume the 1d3 mortal damage and pinning per round is the biggest issue (against single targets). Maybe Reduce the base damage to 9?
I leave it for now. What do you think? Do those weapons need a nerf? Are they fine the way they are?