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usgrandprix

GM screen squad rules

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They can do those things, these rules just wouldn't be what you'd use to accomplish that. The squad and squadron rules are designed to provide survivability for PCs and key NPCs during large scale combat, and provide some interesting tactical options. They are not designed as a way to max out damage potential, or designed to replace the things that tacticians and other inspirational/buff classes can do. You can narratively be in a squad or squadron without necessarily using the squad or squadron rules.

 

This helps clarify some things, Keith. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.

 

I am still having trouble reconciling these rules:

- "[Minions successfully included in a squad or squadron] are now members of their squad or squadron and, as such, no longer receive a turn in combat and do not roll for initiative." (p. 28)

- Close Formation: "Effect: Add [boost] to any attack made by the squad..."

- Attack formation: "Effect: Add [boost] to any attack made by the squadron..."

 

If the minions have lost initiative slots in combat, what does it mean for the squad or squadron to make an attack? In whose initiative slot is the attack made? How is the dice pool calculated?

 

Thanks, again!

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Right, so the quick answers are, minion groups don't get to make attacks in combat anymore. You are foregoing their damage potential as a minion group, and giving up their individual movement and attack (except in cases provided by the various tactical options). You are giving that up. Yes, this generally means you are giving up some offense in exchange for survivability of the squad(ron) leader.

The squad collectively refers to the new group that includes both the minion group and the squad(ron) leader. Only one attack is getting made per round. So there is a <B> being added to the single attack roll that unit gets. The rules don't clearly state it, but the intent was for the attack to be made by the squad(ron) leader only. However, because it is not clearly stated, you could effectively choose between the two, or roll it as a cooperative check as the GM allows. If in the appropriate formation, a <B> gets added to that check. The fact that only one attack is getting made per turn instead of two serves to balance out the gains in durability.

So yes, as written, the rules don't specify who gets the attack, the leader or the minions, or if its a co-op check. Coop checks can be used to represent the squad protecting that leader so she/he can focus on that one perfect shot, or the leader coordinating his/her squad to maximize their damage potential during an attack. But they don't BOTH get to make attacks (unless you hit a triumph).

However, if you choose this interpretation, I'd suggest be be wary with more experienced heroes, as they are going to get all the offensive punch of a large minion group, and all the defensive advantages of the squad(ron), AND hit a lot of triumphs that allow for additional minion group attacks (by nature of all the yellows they are likely rolling). This can result in them steam-rolling through a Battle of Endor scenario with a lot more ease and speed than you would have cared for.

The original intent was for only the leader to get the attack roll, with ample opportunities for minion group attacks of opportunity through the expenditure of triumphs on both attacks and leadership rolls, IIRC. However, this appears to have changed in playtesting.

Also, because we are getting into interpretation here, I'd like to re-iterate that should Sam Stewart or Andy Fischer come out and say something to the contrary, their world is law on the official use of the mechanics. Of course, being that this is an RPG, GM's, use whatever interpretation is going to provide the most fun at your table.

Again, I'lll come back later with a scenario. The day job dominates on Sundays and Mondays.

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However, if you choose this interpretation, I'd suggest be be wary with more experienced heroes, as they are going to get all the offensive punch of a large minion group, and all the defensive advantages of the squad(ron), AND hit a lot of triumphs that allow for additional minion group attacks (by nature of all the yellows they are likely rolling). This can result in them steam-rolling through a Battle of Endor scenario with a lot more ease and speed than you would have cared for.

I would just counter this with NPC ace pilots using the squadron rules too. In both cases, the unnamed minion pilots are going to die in the mix before the real heroes/villains are in any real danger.

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However, if you choose this interpretation, I'd suggest be be wary with more experienced heroes, as they are going to get all the offensive punch of a large minion group, and all the defensive advantages of the squad(ron), AND hit a lot of triumphs that allow for additional minion group attacks (by nature of all the yellows they are likely rolling). This can result in them steam-rolling through a Battle of Endor scenario with a lot more ease and speed than you would have cared for.

I would just counter this with NPC ace pilots using the squadron rules too. In both cases, the unnamed minion pilots are going to die in the mix before the real heroes/villains are in any real danger.

 

 

I can see that approach working. However, the more I think about Keith's remarks on the original intent of the design, the more I see a risk of "dice spam," where we end up with a lot of big dice pools that have a lot of effects, and then the game gets bogged down in counting up successes, threat, advantage - and then in finding ways to spend all of the stuff that comes out of the pool (threat, triumph, advantage, despair). There are good reasons to keep the number of large dice-pool rolls to a minimum so that the game doesn't bog down.

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However, if you choose this interpretation, I'd suggest be be wary with more experienced heroes, as they are going to get all the offensive punch of a large minion group, and all the defensive advantages of the squad(ron), AND hit a lot of triumphs that allow for additional minion group attacks (by nature of all the yellows they are likely rolling). This can result in them steam-rolling through a Battle of Endor scenario with a lot more ease and speed than you would have cared for.

I would just counter this with NPC ace pilots using the squadron rules too. In both cases, the unnamed minion pilots are going to die in the mix before the real heroes/villains are in any real danger.

 

 

I can see that approach working. However, the more I think about Keith's remarks on the original intent of the design, the more I see a risk of "dice spam," where we end up with a lot of big dice pools that have a lot of effects, and then the game gets bogged down in counting up successes, threat, advantage - and then in finding ways to spend all of the stuff that comes out of the pool (threat, triumph, advantage, despair). There are good reasons to keep the number of large dice-pool rolls to a minimum so that the game doesn't bog down.

 

With high-XP groups, the game already becomes "dice spam" just as you've described. Rather than fight it, just encourage your group to be creative and flexible with the results. Hopefully they'll get it down well enough that it doesn't noticeably slow gameplay.

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Also, I'd just like to throw this out there, but in the Edge/Age system in general? Sometimes? I'm not gonna lie? I just ignore dice results beyond success vs. failure.

GASP! SHOCK! HORROR!

Sometimes the game just requires a quick, fast binary answer. We don't need to strain ourselves to come up with a fancy narrative result for EVERY ROLL.

I don't skimp on results often, but sometimes there are just simple "book-keeping" checks. Which, in general, these are things to avoid if possible, but sometimes, you feel the need to make them just in case. In published adventures, sometimes the intent is there to provide for opportunity, but as the GM, as you start to vibe with your table of players, you decide that isn't that important a roll, and you just want to move forward. Sometimes I skip checks altogether, sometimes I just have the roll exist to determine success or failure, and ignore the advantage or threat (though not triumphs or despairs).

Sometimes that's just what's easiest.

Anyway, I said I'd give you guys a scripted scenario situation tomorrow (re: later today at a later hour, give me a break, I bartend). I have every intention of doing that. Also, homework for anyone interested, I'm still really really really interested in hearing about the bulk of the GM Kit, which is to say, what do those of you who have read/played the adventure think of it? Feel free to start a separate thread to discuss/debate the adventure, to keep spoilers out of this thread, and basically keep this all more mechanics focused.

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Thanks! I had a TON of fun with it. I can't wait to start hearing some stories about how it worked at the table!

 

on paper that adventure looks awesome. I read it last night. I like the sidebar for GMs to plan the encounters/events especially.

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Anyway, hope that clears a few things up for you guys about how this should look and feel in practice at the table. Sorry it took an extra day, this just ended up being longer (and a bit more fun) than I had planned originally.

 

Fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to do this, Keith. It does clear a lot up for me... and sorry if I was a little dense not to get it at first. I think I know how to make this work, now.

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Got my GMK.  And did a quick read through.  Really like the adventure and there was enough room 'between the lines' to really easily flesh out the adventure or expand on it.  Well written and wish more of the adventures could be like this.

 

As far as the Squad(ron) rules...

 

Makes the leadership skill more useful.  Also Leadership can become a universal skill when part of a squad(ron).  Kind of disappointed that you only get a boost die for a specific skill based on the formation.  Even with the new Tables, there isn't much difference between 1 squad member and 11 except for more and bigger blaster sponge.  But i can understand the problem of it becoming too over powered.

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Even with the new Tables, there isn't much difference between 1 squad member and 11 except for more and bigger blaster sponge.  But i can understand the problem of it becoming too over powered.

I think that's exactly the point. They are going for a form of ablative protection for PCs and significant NPCs. If your soldiers are good enough that they can stand on their own, then let them.

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Oh, one thing I should have included. Remember getting into a formation or squad(ron) is a manuever. Feel free to encourage people to suffer strain to gain that bonus manuever to both form a squad(ron) and hit a formation in one turn, or to switch formations and still move the unit! The burden of leadership is stressful!

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Oh, one thing I should have included. Remember getting into a formation or squad(ron) is a manuever. Feel free to encourage people to suffer strain to gain that bonus manuever to both form a squad(ron) and hit a formation in one turn, or to switch formations and still move the unit! The burden of leadership is stressful!

can you do an example of a snub fighter squadron using these rules?

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I gave these squad rules a test run without even the group realising. Narratively was fantastic as the minions were being hit instead of the Nemesis Militia Captain. No one felt mechanically disadvantaged as I narrated how a minion foolishly ran out of his cover to what he thought was a better spot and took the hit meant for the Captain and so on to the remaining Captain where our Bounty Hunter, firing auto fire hit the Captain several times and had a triumph in his roll so narrated how the shot penetrated through the helmets visor, blowing his head out inside the helmet, leaving nothing but bone fragments, blood and brain pieces. He left and didn't come back that session, felt no better roll could come along. :)

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Daeglan, I have a lot of stuff I'm juggling writing wise and logistics wise as GenCon looms two weeks out. If I can find some free time after GenCon, I'll see what I can do to that effect. The example I gave was ground just because I wanted to minimize and simplify the scenario so that I was mostly dealing with squad(ron) rules.

DVeight, glad to hear these rules are making it to the table and working well!

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I also think that now, as GM's, we have the opportunity to utilise both 'group' rules from the Edge of Empire and those in the Age of Rebellion GM kit. We can mix and match as we see fit, determining what is best for that particular encounter.

 

One must remember that this game system is built to promote a narrative game. This isn't a tactical board game, moving models x amount of squares, counting ranges, positions etc. After seven months with my group, last session, for the first time no one demanded models on the table to visualise or count distances, etc. I also have been for a while now avoiding to rely on that. I will do it for those 'special' designed sessions of mine so the group can have fun with seeing the scene on table though everything in this game happens utilising imagination and your mother language.

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Will definitely be using these rules.

 

Our players are wanting to play a game as a capital ship crew, and allowing the pilot characters to have two or three 'stunt doubles' formed up around them makes a hell of a difference - as you noted, in a massed space combat, fighters go down like ninepins to big minion groups because it's **** difficult to improve your defence much beyond the odd setback die from defensive driving, shields, or spent advantage.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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