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Ghostofman

I throw a grenade at the Phalanx...

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So Rise of the Separatists introduces a new minion group option called a Phalanx that essentially creates a group of limited skill, but infinite size. Cool, appropriate, and I'm looking forward to using it in my next campaign.

But... What happens when you hit it with a blast weapon? How many are considered engaged?

My group and I are kicking around the Phalanx width as the number... That sound good?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

So Rise of the Separatists introduces a new minion group option called a Phalanx that essentially creates a group of limited skill, but infinite size. Cool, appropriate, and I'm looking forward to using it in my next campaign.

But... What happens when you hit it with a blast weapon? How many are considered engaged?

My group and I are kicking around the Phalanx width as the number... That sound good?

As the guy who wrote said rules, I'd say that's a good, simple way of handling it (and I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it first or addressing blast weapons!). 

 

Glad people are finding these rules, and very curious to hear how it goes at the table!

Edited by KRKappel

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Good enough for me.

We haven't tried these rules yet, but they look good. Campaign hasn't formally started, but I ran a shakedown session last week to gauge party firepower. Finding a good "sweet spot" for the size of some of the minion groups has been tricky, and there are some spots in my campaign outline I was concerned wouldn't translate well to encounters because of it. Phalanx groups should go a long way towards addressing that problem.

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From my read thru, and based upon how we see droid phalanxes operate in the films (to say nothing of proper phalanx formations in general), I'd just assumed that they were considered engaged*, and that with Blast you'd hit however many droids were in the front row.  Like Ghostofman, I'm interested in giving these rules a spin at some point.

*Then again, I generally run minion groups as being engaged with one another by default for simplicity's sake, even though the rules make no such restriction.

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Posted (edited)

This is the first I've heard of phalanxes. Could someone give me a summary? 

I've had some issues with using battle droid minions myself. If the group are too small, they're just annoying to have to deal in any number with with all the dice rolling and individual hits/attacks needed to take them down. Too big and they're suddenly crack shots.

4 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

I generally run minion groups as being engaged with one another by default for simplicity's sake, even though the rules make no such restriction.

Yeah, this is generally how I run it too for simplicity's sake, but sometimes I make a point to mix it up. For instance, a well trained military unit wouldn't bunch up and make themselves vulnerable to blast weapons for no good reason, such as fighting in confined spaces or huddling together in cover. The simplest way to deal with this was inspired by previous editions of Warhamner and Warhammer 40K that used blast templates, where the question was how many models you could fit under one. A grenade thorown at a gang of thugs might hit all of them, but against a squad of crack stormtroopers, it might only hit the two guys taking cover in the same place. With that in mind, I'll be careful to dictate how may from a certain minion group can be hit by a single blast weapon and let players know, at least before spending advantage on activating Blast.

I've also been toying with the idea of making Blast work differently against minion groups, instead requiring a single advantage per extra person hit.

Edited by penpenpen

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1 hour ago, penpenpen said:

This is the first I've heard of phalanxes. Could someone give me a summary? 

I've had some issues with using battle droid minions myself. If the group are too small, they're just annoying to have to deal in any number with with all the dice rolling and individual hits/attacks needed to take them down. Too big and they're suddenly crack shots.

Yeah, this is generally how I run it too for simplicity's sake, but sometimes I make a point to mix it up. For instance, a well trained military unit wouldn't bunch up and make themselves vulnerable to blast weapons for no good reason, such as fighting in confined spaces or huddling together in cover. The simplest way to deal with this was inspired by previous editions of Warhamner and Warhammer 40K that used blast templates, where the question was how many models you could fit under one. A grenade thorown at a gang of thugs might hit all of them, but against a squad of crack stormtroopers, it might only hit the two guys taking cover in the same place. With that in mind, I'll be careful to dictate how may from a certain minion group can be hit by a single blast weapon and let players know, at least before spending advantage on activating Blast.

I've also been toying with the idea of making Blast work differently against minion groups, instead requiring a single advantage per extra person hit.

well Engaged is supposed to be how close you need to be able to attack with a melee weapon. In real life a knife that is about 21 feet or so and a sword is a little bit more. which would be a circle about 45 feet across. just as a reference.

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17 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

well Engaged is supposed to be how close you need to be able to attack with a melee weapon. In real life a knife that is about 21 feet or so and a sword is a little bit more. which would be a circle about 45 feet across. just as a reference.

21 feet is the distance someone can charge you with a knife before you get your gun up, so depending on how you want to read the rules, that could also be short or even medium range (if you spend strain, you can make 2 move maneuvers and an action). Funnily enough though, the casualty producing radius of an M67 hand grenade is 15 metres, which is just about 45 feet. Then again the lethality radius is 5 metres, more like 15 feet.

What I recall from basic training is that a five to ten metre spread was what you're supposed to keep, but in practice, you tend to bunch up once distractions like combat ensues. Not bunching up takes a bit more training then one would think.

So even if we go with a 45 foot blast radius, easily enough area for six people to be in, a properly trained group of soldiers would probaly have 2 or 3 guys in such an area.

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4 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

21 feet is the distance someone can charge you with a knife before you get your gun up, so depending on how you want to read the rules, that could also be short or even medium range (if you spend strain, you can make 2 move maneuvers and an action). Funnily enough though, the casualty producing radius of an M67 hand grenade is 15 metres, which is just about 45 feet. Then again the lethality radius is 5 metres, more like 15 feet.

What I recall from basic training is that a five to ten metre spread was what you're supposed to keep, but in practice, you tend to bunch up once distractions like combat ensues. Not bunching up takes a bit more training then one would think.

So even if we go with a 45 foot blast radius, easily enough area for six people to be in, a properly trained group of soldiers would probaly have 2 or 3 guys in such an area.

And clearly battle droids are poorly trained

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@penpenpen
Courtesy of Kualan over in the RotS Spoilers thread...

Quote

1. Two droid phalanxes advance on your position. The width of each phalanx is four droids wide, so you treat them as two minion groups of four.

2. Every droid you destroy is replaced at the top of each round.

3. The phalanxes take one maneuver towards you each turn.

4. If you destroy the same number of droids in a phalanx's "rank width" (in this case, four) in a single round, you prevent that phalanx from advancing.

5. If you destroy twice that number or more, you push the phalanx back by one maneuver. 

6. You would need to destroy eight droids in a round to hold off two phalanxes with ranks of four droids wide.

This is a pretty simple overview, and doesn't cover a lot of specific details, but should give you the general notion of the phalanx rules.

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Dono/Kualan covered it.

The cool part is there's no max number of Phalanx participants. so a Phalanx can be a few dozen, to an infinite line off to the horizon. 

I'm really looking forward to it as it looks like a good method to have Minion groups of massive size, but still keeping the group skill rank numbers manageable. Should work for replicating those scenes like in Clone Wars where the street is filled with battledroids, but the "players" also don't get cut down by dozens of Skill rank 5 attacks.

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It's also eminently adaptable for a range of other contexts. After I showed it to the GM of the starfighter campaign I'm in he saw it as an opportunity for encounters featuring "Far Too Many TIEs". My own speculation on that use is that perhaps while the GM could be quietly noting down losses, all you're seeing is the finite strength of the cloud actually able to engage you at once and have to keep carving out a space within it. If only, say, eight TIEs can engage you at once from the swarm boiling out of that ISD's hangar, while the rest circle round for a clear shot, you have to kill that many per round or find yourself swamped, when evasion becomes impossible. Or perhaps it's a way to simulate crowd mechanics: you're facing down an angry mob on Coruscant protesting the war and have to score so many successes on a social check to convince the leaders, of they will surge forward.

It's an extremely simple but infinitely variable set of rules, and one I hope to get a lot of use out of. Thanks, @KRKappel!

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49 minutes ago, SavageBob said:

How are victory conditions handled in an encounter featuring a phalanx? I'm guessing they're not appropriate for "kill every last enemy" kinds of encounters. Or are they?

Well, I'm sure people will find all sorts of creative ways to handle this. But the intent is made pretty clear in the rules. These are for the party vs a huge number of enemies types of scenarios, where victory is more about holding the enemy back until something else happens (escape, reinforcements, a droid control ship is knocked out, etc).

For large groups vs large groups, I'd still use the mass combat rules. So if said reinforcements show up. You might change things to a mass combat encounter at that point. 

These are definitely rules for niche combat encounters, not something to be used every single combat, just like the mass combat and squad and squadron rules.

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1 hour ago, SavageBob said:

How are victory conditions handled in an encounter featuring a phalanx? I'm guessing they're not appropriate for "kill every last enemy" kinds of encounters. Or are they?

Just my 2 thoughts...

1) Assuming it wasn't infinite minions, the GM would have an idea how many were in the Phalanx. Once you reduce it down to a certain point you'd switch them to Minion groups and the players would likely mop up. I'd probably have it be a Phalanx till you get below 2xLine Width, at which point you'd get two minion groups of Line Width and (if needed) add a slot at the end of initiative for the "new" group.

2) Instead of body count an easier solution would be Distance. How far off does the Phalanx go? Since you can push a phalanx back by inflicting enough damage, once they get a certain distance away (probably Long or Extreme in most encounters) you could consider the Phalanx exhausted.

 

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5 minutes ago, Ghostofman said:

Unless you interpret Blast to work at Close range... not really.

Good point.  Rules as written, Blast only works at engaged range, with starfighter scale's Close range being well outside that category.

Side note: the intent of Blast on proton torpedoes and concussion missiles is less about taking out additional minions, but more about turning a near-miss (fail with advantage) into a sorta-hit (at least after Blast was updated to allow it to trigger on 3 advantage with a failed combat check) or doing massive damage to emplacements and any troops in the immediate vicinity of the target.

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On 5/13/2019 at 9:08 PM, Donovan Morningfire said:

Good point.  Rules as written, Blast only works at engaged range, with starfighter scale's Close range being well outside that category.

As minor nitpick, planetary  scale blast works out to short range, which is still however way short of planetary scale Close.

Still, exponentially bigger mess when you start chucking proton torpedoes in a bar brawl, rather than playing it cool and sticking to just frag grenades.

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4 hours ago, penpenpen said:

As minor nitpick, planetary  scale blast works out to short range, which is still however way short of planetary scale Close.

Is there a source for this?

I just checked my copies of the EotE and F&D core rulebooks (first printings), and the Blast quality denotes targets engaged with the original target, while the Vehicle chapter doesn't cite an exception that says Blast works any differently at planetary scale than it does at character scale.

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5 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Is there a source for this?

I just checked my copies of the EotE and F&D core rulebooks (first printings), and the Blast quality denotes targets engaged with the original target, while the Vehicle chapter doesn't cite an exception that says Blast works any differently at planetary scale than it does at character scale.

Page 230 of the Force and Destiny Core Rules, in the box "Starships, vehicle and scale". I think it's in all three core books, but I have to admit that I'm too lazy check atm.

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2 hours ago, penpenpen said:

Page 230 of the Force and Destiny Core Rules, in the box "Starships, vehicle and scale". I think it's in all three core books, but I have to admit that I'm too lazy check atm.

Huh, never caught that bit being officially part of the rules regarding vehicle weapons vs. character-scale targets.  It'd been something I'd adopted as a house rule in those incredibly rare instances when things like proton torpedoes and concussion missiles got turned loose on character-scale enemies, but nice to know it's actually an official rule.  Thanks for pointing that out.

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7 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Huh, never caught that bit being officially part of the rules regarding vehicle weapons vs. character-scale targets.  It'd been something I'd adopted as a house rule in those incredibly rare instances when things like proton torpedoes and concussion missiles got turned loose on character-scale enemies, but nice to know it's actually an official rule.  Thanks for pointing that out.

Breakout Boxes strike again!

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Interesting.

I had an encounter oh about a year ago?  Literally B1 Heavy's in "infinite" supply attacking the PC's and their allies.

I turned it into a timed mission where the PC's had to load up 18 pallets onto two ships while under fire.

It was CRAZY (and maybe even awesome)!  Definitely a lot of tension for the players as they began wondering how many of them were going to make it out alive!

And I don't use minions in my games (for the most part) so they didn't have that option . . . :unsure:.  I especially don't treat Stormtroopers and other 'trained' combatants as mere 'minions.'

In short, I set up the battlefield (on a Chessex hex map) and I let them know that a column of droids was headed their way.  Each "row" or (more appropriately) squad comprised of 8 droids who arrived along the upper left edge of the battle area.

However, since the PC's and their allies had come prepared with a couple of X-Wings , and their VCX had an attack shuttle available, I also had squads lined up along the top edge of the board.  (1 droid per "squad" in the area leading up to the entrance zone on the battle map).  So the players could keep track of up to 8 squads of approaching droids).  And while they couldn't attack those squads beyond long range with conventional weapons, they did have the X-Wing making torpedo & strafing runs. 

And that X-Wing saved them!  I decided that a Proton Torpedo could wipe out an entire squad and that by activating the 'linked' ability with the X-Wing that they could hit more than one droid.  (And yes, shipboard weapons can wipe out a battle droid in a single hit).  :lol:

Without interrupting that steady flow 8 droids per turn would have eventually overwhelmed the Rebels!

But the Players coordinated well enough and were able to load up the ships with the requisite cargo and THEN extract the on ground combatants along with the wounded.

Again, tough fight, but the players got through it by the skin of their teeth while getting their whole cargo load.

 

 

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