Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Feeling Feel No Pain?

FNP - Feel No Pain.  A little Universal Special Rule that gives you a second chance against many attacks.  It's a potent little rule that gives models a good deal of extra survivability.  But is it becoming overused?

Like so many things that spread everywhere, it started out small, way back with (IIRC) Blood Angels Death Company in 3rd edition.  This really boosted the resiliency of these nutters, making them really hard to send to meet their Primarch.  Since then, like kudzu, FNP has spread far and wide.

(Along the way it also changed to be a little less potent, having more restrictions.)

It popped up in the Chaos Space Marines 3.5 codex for Khornate Champions.  There was also the similar, but not identical, We'll Be Back roll for Necrons, which gives an extra 4+ to survive, subject to limitations.  Since then the spread quickened, showing up with Plague Marines, Space Marine Apothecaries, Ork Painboys, Imperial Guard medics, as well as some characters that could benefit.

Not content to be a unit property or conferred upon a specific unit, Feel No Pain hit the fast lane with the ability to be tossed around to other units, with the Tyranid Tervigon being able to imbue FNP onto a unit of its choosing, and the Blood Angel Sanguinary Priests' bubbles that effect any unit with a model within the radius.  Along the way, more individuals with FNP also appear, like Space Wolf Lone Wolves, and now Dark Eldar come along with the potential for army-wide FNP through Pain Tokens.

How long will it be before the number of non-vehicular units functioning under FNP will outnumber those without it?  When they want to make something tougher, can't GW come up with something else?  Does everything have to be tougher?  If not, maybe things can be dialed back a little.  If so, maybe the solution should come in dialing down the offense that requires the extra defense, instead of adding more defense, which requires more offense to overcome, etc. etc.

What do you think?  Is there too much Feel No Pain?  Not enough?  Just right?  If you could start it from scratch, what units would you restrict FNP to?

Edit: for some other recent thoughts/rants about FNP, check out Old School Terminator and Gothmog.



  1. I think feel no pain is a fine rule and the places you see it and the way it is given make it more of a payable stratagem than other special rules. Need those blood angels to lose resilience so you VMWare kill them faster? You need to develop tactics to get your cc specialist in to pick off the priest and deliver the kill via fire and maneuver before another priest gets near. Also consider that the priest has a cost and the drawback of extra kp.
    Has the opponent geared his de to start with pain tokens? Well do what we did before and focus on making sure his key raiders get downed so you can face his army on your terms. De with no momentum are dead.
    What about nids? The fnp there is carried by a walking stratagem - the tervigon. She is a piece to the larger nid synergy puzzle.
    The bottom line is that in fifth edition codices, fnp is a stratagem you pay for or one that your units achieve. Making the most of it requires you to make a list or to maneuver a certain way. By the same token, the Emmy also has a means to negate it or to stop you from getting it, which adds to the tactical and strategic elements of the way games are played.
    The way it works now makes it much more fun to me than just another set of dice rolls. I think I'll have to write a post on this one. Thanks for the inspiration SoT.

  2. It does seem to have gotten out of hand. We know the counters to FNP but countering FNP can leave you too weak to deal with the rest of the army, and not every army is able to bring big enough guns, or enough power weapons, to deal with a mass amount of FNP. I know my Orks against Blood Angels have a hell of a time of it.

    I feel that armies that restrict FNP to units are fine, IE: Apothecaries and Painboys. It's when you start dealing with radius effects that things can get out of hand. It would be one thing if a single model conferred FNP in a radius, it's another when multiple models, like Blood Angels, are able to effectively cover their entire army with it. I'm not saying Blood Angels are overpowered or anything but they're a perfect example of a USR being overused and too easy to get. I have yet to play a BA player who didn't have at least two, normally three, Sanguinary Priests on the field.

    I almost feel as though there should be a downside to FNP, something that makes taking it en masse a consideration. Fearless is a good example. Losing combat means you stay in the fight but suffer additional wounds for it. What's the downside to having a ton of FNP? You may pay a premium of sorts for it but usually the gains far outweigh the cost. Maybe something like when a FNP save is made then the model conferring FNP rolls a D6 and on a 1 they suffer a wound, call it exhaustion, much like how a Tomb Spyder makes rolls for creating Scarabs.

  3. So far I think GW has been OK with the amount of FNP in the game. The counter balance has been the amount of AP1 and AP2 weaponry that units are able to take now in 5th edition. Yes FNP makes us more survivable but it also makse taking all those special weapons in our armies more valuable.

    The purpose I beleive is to make us make more choices and have more freedoms in selecting our armies. List building in 5th edition is really turning into an artform, where back in 3rd, there really wasnt much to it.

  4. Old school Termy says it how it is, FnP does indeed add a new aspect to the game, even BA are less B0rk3n once you murder their priests.

    And fnp hardly makes DE anywhere near as resilient as marines with FnP,

    Tthen we might have an issue ....

  5. I agree that there are a lot of ways around FNP, especially for T3 folks. And I can appreciate GW wanting to use USRs for things instead of making a bunch of new rules. But I think after a point it gets out of hand, plus I think the justification for it in a lot of cases is pretty weak - like an IG medic being able to get a bunch of guys to shrug off heavy bolter wounds? Umm...yeah, OK. Doc Dorden needs to take lessons from these guys; there'd be a lot more Tanith left.

  6. I feel FNP has gone too far. It is invalidating the majority of small arms fire in the game and everything is boiling down to a few special weapons and what your sergeant is equipped with.
    The point of 5e was to encourage short ranged fire fights, and alot of them. But with FNP, these firefights see indecisive results and everything boils down to combats instead where how many power weapon wounds you inflict make the difference.

    I don't think the game should boil down to special weapons. What is the point of the army if that is the case. Why not just play necromunda if 10 guys are all that truly make a difference in your list.


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