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Integrating the Operator


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#1 Einbauschrank

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:53 AM

Old problem, new system.

 

When we were playing the Battletech RPG I tried to keep everyone in or out fo their 'Mech/vehicle at the same time. It is rather difficult to manage a player group, it gets worse when one is a Walker and all the other are grunts. (Only thing worse: if the vehilce is an airplane or aerospace).

 

How would you integrate vehicles (especially one man vehicles like the Sentinel Walker) and a sqaud? I find it difficult to balance the opposition. If I include a threat to neutralize the Walker the group will be squished if their Walker loses the duel. Other way round is less dramatic, but even more boring: If the groups Walker wins, he can stomp the infantry opposition. Any suggestions for that?



#2 LuciusT

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:32 AM

Of the top of my head, missile launchers should be a good because they are equally useful against light vehicles and infantry. So, arm one of the opponents with a missile laucher.  Likewise, make sure someone in the squad has a weapon capable of bringing down a light vehicle (meltagun or the self-same missile launcher being good choices) so that they can take out enemy light vehicles.

Also, remember that the squad need not be on it's own. In one mission, an enemy vehicle or heavy gunner that takes out the squads walker might turn its attention to another Guard vehicle elsewhere on the battlefield, leaving someone else to fight the infantry. In another mission, the Sentinel might be tasked with taking out an enemy tank, but needs the infantry squad-mates to protect it from enemy infantry with krak grenades (seen that a few times in 40K tabletop games). 



#3 whoseyes

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:35 AM

You talk about Sentinels as if they where uber-powerful.

The Operator will have more 'hitpoints' when driving his walker, but he won't be much more powerful than, lets say, a heavy gunner.

Some ideas:

- Bring onto the table foes with krak or melta grenades and make them use this items only against the walker, while they use basic weapons on the soldiers that go by foot. In other words, most foes will use their big guns against the Sentinel first for obvious reasons!

- Oppose the PCs with another squad that also has a walker (OR TWO!).

 

Also, bear in mind that the Operator will be able to survive more threats than the other members of the team (although if the Sentinel is open-topped that's not 100% true), but he won't be able to do other interesting stuff like climbing trees, using stealth or entering inside most buildings and closed-spaces. I'm sure you can design scenarios where part of the team have to act stealthy and the other part (the Sentinel) offers covering fire or stuff like that.



#4 Einbauschrank

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:43 AM

Thanks for the answer - and please excuse the terrible typing errors, I try to be better than that - but we have carnival at the moment. It is difficult to be sober.

One problem I have with "heavy weaponry" like missile launchers, melta guns etc. is that there is no reason not to use them against the PCs too, if opportunity arises. I have to "hold back" the heavy weapon guy and only use him against the vehicle even if a soft PC sticks out his head.. Perhaps I am overanalyzing this but as a GM I always felt "cheap" when I let the heavy weapon dude only fire at the hard target.



#5 Face Eater

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:06 PM

Einbauschrank said:

Thanks for the answer - and please excuse the terrible typing errors, I try to be better than that - but we have carnival at the moment. It is difficult to be sober.

One problem I have with "heavy weaponry" like missile launchers, melta guns etc. is that there is no reason not to use them against the PCs too, if opportunity arises. I have to "hold back" the heavy weapon guy and only use him against the vehicle even if a soft PC sticks out his head.. Perhaps I am overanalyzing this but as a GM I always felt "cheap" when I let the heavy weapon dude only fire at the hard target.

For a melta gun, sure (unless range is an issue) but for missile launchers and grenade launchers often krak is more scarce, you're badguys might only have one or two krak grenades of missiles. In addition this system (and real life really) makes it much easier to hit enemies with an frag missile and they won't assume it's their last battle and blow their krak missiles on a dude when a frag is better.



#6 LuciusT

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

Einbauschrank said:

One problem I have with "heavy weaponry" like missile launchers, melta guns etc. is that there is no reason not to use them against the PCs too, if opportunity arises. I have to "hold back" the heavy weapon guy and only use him against the vehicle even if a soft PC sticks out his head.. Perhaps I am overanalyzing this but as a GM I always felt "cheap" when I let the heavy weapon dude only fire at the hard target.

That's why I like the missile launcher. Fire a krak missile at the vehcile, then load a frag missile to take out the infantry. No reason to waste a krak missile on infantry, unless they're space marines. A meltagun is short range and has a very small clip. Again, why waste such a weapon on a soft target when you can easily switch to a sidearm which will do the job and save those precious 5 shots for the vehicle the weapon is designed to bring down. 

In short, there are some very good reasons not to use them against soft targets. Target priority is pretty basic tactics and, unless you're fighting orks, I generally assume enemy troops have at least a basic grasp of tactics.



#7 AtoMaki

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:41 PM

The best way to counter Sentinels: Called Shots! The Sentinel is an Open-Topped vehicle, and the Operator has the survivability of a cup of pudding, so even a few lucky shots can take him out. And the Sentinel is just a bucket of bolts without its pilot. 

Against enclosed Sentinels, the problem is pretty darn serious. Remember that a smart Squad will simply focus fire on the AT weapon and will take it out before it could even scratch the Sentinel. Bringing more AT to the table will solve the problem, but then the foot section of the Squad will have some serious trouble (1 missile launcher is OK - 3 isn't). So overall, I would bring another Sentinel against the Squad instead of dedicated AT infantry. 

Oh, and for infantry-bound AT weapons, don't forget that the players will gladly loot these toys from their fallen enemies and they will use the "free" weapons to ruin the next encounter ;)



#8 Kasatka

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

All of the talk so far has been about human vs human combat, assuming the same tech level on both sides (fine if fighting the recidivists in the core setting) but what about orks and dark eldar?
Well dark eldar have the perfect counter to vehicles in their lance weapons, and they also have jetbikes. GM could easily let the players use the sentinel to give them the edge of enemy infantry and light vehicles, but once they start acting really gun-ho or to challenge them a little, you could have a jetbike with a lance do a fly by and fire off a single shot a the sentinel - chances are it won't instantly blow it up but itll give the squad something to worry about and maybe theyll use the sentinel in a more cagey fashion from then on.

With orks, simply mob the walker - be it a group of orks firing their shootas (with maybe a big shoota for support) at it, the hail of fire will force the operator to fall back. Or maybe some nobs with power weapons charge it and start hacking at its legs, again the squad will need to fend them off and let the sentinel fall back.

Orks also have the benefit of one-shot rokkit launchers, so no chance of the players looting them (but I'd hope the commisar would execute in the field anyone who suggested they use filthy xenos weaponry anyway!)


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#9 Plasmafest

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:37 PM

I feel the need to point out that this is an IG game and that any players who know the background should know what they signed up for. So don't feel obligated to make every fight 'fair,' or even winnable. Go right ahead and make 'em wish they'd brought along entrenching tools. I mean, it's not as if the Operator PC is going to refrain from stomping on the crunchies.

I'm planning on hitting my players with a Stompa, purely as a none too subtle reminder that they're part of an armoured Regiment and can call for support when they need it.



#10 Alekzanter

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:57 PM

Carnival, eh? I have friend in Liege, and her correspondence of last year confirms your excuse as legit.

I find that combat encounters I run seem more "genuine" if I've spent some time "fighting it out" in my head.

I have an encounter in mind, but I don't necessarily want it to be a static opponent, so I try to think about what they are doing, what their objectives are, and what might be happening "behind" their scene (like orders from their command structure or their general morale).

Perhaps a light infantry squad has been sent specifically to hunt enemy (PC) armour or armour support units. They are scouting, hunting, skulking, and preying, things that the PCs may themselves be doing. Opposed Stealth Tests (both the PCs and their opponents are crawling slowly through undergrowth or rubble), Awareness or Per Tests to note the sounds of a vehicle motor or Walker drive pistons above background noise (or above the thud in a PC's ear of his own fearfully pounding heart), possibly Navigate Surface Tests to pinpoint the enemy's direction (sounds echo, making it difficult to be precise); these are the kinds of things I would think about, and knowing my Players I have an general idea of how they will respond/react/behave to the encounter, and can "plan" their opponents' responses/reactions/behaviors accordingly. Equipment and gear can be used by opponents as well as PCs; the "bad guys" are less likely to be surprised if one of their unit is operating an auspex…

I also try to consider spacing (we use tactical maps); it's important for the GM to have an idea of how he spaces the PCs' opponents, as well as the general spacing/formation the PCs have adopted. Then decide whether you want the enemy to "bull rush" the PCs, stagger their advance and cover with supporting fire, "dig in"and deny the PCs' advance, or tuck into concealment and let the PCs pass and then follow/ambush them. Are the opponents brutal (meaning they kill all enemies to a man) or are they willing (or ordered) to take prisoners? Are they stalwart combatants, or will they flee when half or more of their number are severely wounded/slain? But what to do if the PCs notice an ambush? Play out the enemy's adapting combat responses in your head (based on their doctrines/morale/orders). Not everything will follow these in-head playouts precisely (as GMs, we all know Players have a knack of carrying an extra monkey wrench or three), but it's better to have some ideas organized ahead of time than it is to be winging every detail on the fly.

It is far more enjoyable for the Players and the GM to consider these things, and to spend a bit more time preparing for encounters than that simply needed to write down "Bad guys with guns attack PCs, 1 Missile Launcher if needed."



#11 Flail-Bot

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:08 PM

My solution has been to give the whole squad sentinels.

It's chicken walker adventure time up in that regiment.



#12 Radwraith

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:09 PM

Let the group encounter a Hellbrute (CSM dreadnought) or defiler at close range and the Sentinel will be just as terrified as the gooey green men (I mean, the party!asustado)



#13 Face Eater

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:47 AM

The thing is, that unlike in the previous games the Sentinal is actually an enormous vehicle so if the troops stumble into an ambush the guy with the anti tank gun is actually going to be trying to shoot the walker. If your squad lets the walker get taken down and doesn't do something about that autocannon before it starts anhiliating them then they need to re-visit target priority school.

While the sentinal is the open top version any poor spod with a frag grenade can take it out (with a lucky shot or up close) so that's not biggy.

An all sentinal team sounds like a lot of fun, but by no means required. Id think say it would work in smaller groups, in larger ones you are going to feel the lack of variety.



#14 HappyDaze

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:17 AM

Face Eater said:

An all sentinal team sounds like a lot of fun, but by no means required. Id think say it would work in smaller groups, in larger ones you are going to feel the lack of variety.

Lascannon, Multilaser, and Autocannon - that's all the variety that's needed!complice


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