My main objective was to give Challenges some teeth and value. My experience with them thus far is useless annoyance. I hate that to refuse a challenge makes your character worthless but to actual fight the challenge–and winning or losing it–does nothing. But you voices of reason have all been correct, the way I have it doesn’t soften that, it makes it worse. Powerful close combat models could still take terrible advantage and imbalance the game. And as I am an anti-competitive player, I would hate to see an army built around one or two guys geared for winning purely through challenges. I tried to make this game aspect more meaningful and ended up making it super-powerful instead.
So how about this:
Take 3: Everything is the same as in book but —
1. Refusing a challenge: You can refuse without penalty with a successful LD check but at half your normal value (round up): this is you trying to convince everyone within ear shot that you’re not a coward, you just don’t think you should have to fight the challenger just cuz he insulted your mama.
2. Fighting a Challenge: double each characters’ wounds inflicted during a challenge when totaling the combat resolution for the round.
3. If you win both the combat and the challenge, when your unit makes a consolidation move, roll 2D6 and pick the higher.
And that’s it.
I understand the “diving on the grenade” thing to draw a badass away from the rest of your unit, but I don’t think that should be the only function of a challenge and I don’t think that refusing it should automatically castrate your character. So this gives you a chance to back out while still laying odds that you’ll have to kill the grenade diver first. It also gives some value to the challenge while it’s happening, and grants a small reward for winning.
I think these meet my objectives without replacing every chainsword with a daemon weapon. Hopefully a more balanced approach. Now I’m going to stop fiddling with the rules and just paint some guys already.
J. D. Brink