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Artillery Barrage

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While I know lots of people were expecting some sort of mass combat rules in AoR, as well as some guidelines on warfare hazards, personally I'm okay with them saving most of that stuff for the Commander and Soldier splat books. However, I would like to have some discussion on how to implement the effects of, say, an AT-AT barrage or a TIE/SA Bomber bombing run in a reasonable manner.

 

Does anyone have any ideas? Using simple attacks on individual characters seems boring and unfair, since every round only one character will be targeted and if they're hit, they're pretty much toast. I'm thinking of some variation on the falling damage table, where the characters take base strain and wounds, negated by the results of a check, but I'm stuck on what kind of numbers would be fair.

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I recognize the necessity of some concept of mass combat, especially for purposes of, say, the Battle of Hoth or Endor, but does anyone (player or GM) actually like it?

 

I've participated in true amy vs army (or smaller divisions larger than the PCs' squad size) mass combat in other systems before (lots of Exalted, some L5R, and a couple others) and it's never been either fun or satisfactorily-modeled in any of them.

 

Is it directly relevant if the PCs aren't commanding Echo Base or Death Squadron against the large opponent military force? If not, what's lost by making all that narrative, and focusing mechanically on just what the PCs are doing?

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I recognize the necessity of some concept of mass combat, especially for purposes of, say, the Battle of Hoth or Endor, but does anyone (player or GM) actually like it?

Yes. Many times, some of us grognards want to break out counters and maps and play out wars with PC's as the generals on the field.

 

I've played out some rather large battles in WEG 2E ... including a "Rest of the Story" battle at Yaavin IV. We know that there were 3+ wings  of (72) tie fighters on the Death Star. Why could they not stop one wing of rebel fighters? And why do we see lots more rebel birds take off than the 48 we can extrapolate from the radio chatter? 

 

Well, I presumed for my last d6 campaign that there were two battles at Yaavin. Battle 1: The fighter wings assure that there is no rebel fleet to threaten the DS. They meet a full wing of desperate rebels. Purple, Orange, Rogue and Headhunter. A mix of X and Y wings engage (and hold busy) the two wings on sweep. Meanwhile, Red, Gold, and another Y-wing squadron go in to attack the DS.

 

WE played out the screening battle. We used the WEG SW Miniatures rules dice reduction mechanics. PC's took temporary control over rebel squadrons. Took a whole 6 hour session... but with 75% rebel losses, and that other battle ensuring that the base was still there...

 

And I've had players in MegaTraveller who wanted to play active duty marine games - they were a regimental cadre. And yes, some regimental battles at the squad level, played out with the RPG mechanics. (It has unit rules that work.)

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My main comment is really, how likely is it for most of a campaign that the PCs will be the generals coordinating the battle, and not a unit participating in it against another unit? AoR isn't a game where you start as Jan Dodonna, after all.

 

Not trying to be argumentative, I guess I have never seen a particularly good mass combat system, nor have I participated in a mass battle where I didn't think at least once "gee I wish we were just using the normal combat rules for what our team is doing bc this scale is boring/abstract as hell."

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My main comment is really, how likely is it for most of a campaign that the PCs will be the generals coordinating the battle, and not a unit participating in it against another unit? AoR isn't a game where you start as Jan Dodonna, after all.

 

Not trying to be argumentative, I guess I have never seen a particularly good mass combat system, nor have I participated in a mass battle where I didn't think at least once "gee I wish we were just using the normal combat rules for what our team is doing bc this scale is boring/abstract as hell."

Not Jan Dodonna, but you can start as Captain Antilles - Commander/Commodore.

 

The career/specialty pairs clearly envision the commander career as senior officer types.

 

Mass combat doesn't start at the grand fleet level, either. It starts at Squadrons of fighters and a capital ship or two.

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By mass combat, I'm talking about some features so that the PCs can feel like they are in a warzone. Artillery is a pretty big part of that.

 

While I do think that eventually heroes might find themselves making fleet and regiment level decisions, I'm talking about trench level stuff.

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By mass combat, I'm talking about some features so that the PCs can feel like they are in a warzone. Artillery is a pretty big part of that.

 

While I do think that eventually heroes might find themselves making fleet and regiment level decisions, I'm talking about trench level stuff.

Yeah, that, too, is part of mass combat.

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By mass combat, I'm talking about some features so that the PCs can feel like they are in a warzone. Artillery is a pretty big part of that.

 

While I do think that eventually heroes might find themselves making fleet and regiment level decisions, I'm talking about trench level stuff.

 

Hmm.. Some form of "Hazard" mechanic would go a long way. Drawing a few points for SW:SE and 4E, i could see making "Artillery fire" having its own initiative, giving it a sizable difficulty to represent the fact that most of the time it should be "background noise" but form time-to-time you see someone get blown up (thinking of Forest Gump/Saving Private Ryan/The Clone Wars on this).

 

Some codified rules would be nice, but I could have fun coming up with my own ground trooper wartime fun!

Edited by kaosoe

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You know I have been thinking what if for Artillery Barrage an Athletics check was made at an average or hard check to take cover.

This approach is nice since it puts power in the player's hand and it's very simple.

Edited by kaosoe

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That's what I was thinking. The question is how to divvy up wounds/strain based on the result in a fair way. Despair is a crit? Failure is max wounds? But how many? Success reduce wounds, that seems obvious. I think that threats/advantage could determine strain in some way.

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I'm seeing it as opposite of a combat check. I think success should negate damage (let soak continue to reduce damage). while failure would increase damage (like a success would on a combat check). Threat can cause strain, and 3 threat or despair can cause a crit.

 

EDIT: The only problem with this, is that there's an argument that multiple failures does not change the "magnitude" of the failure, so failures = extra damage might not be the ideal approach.

Edited by kaosoe

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It seems this could just be run RAW. The fires unit or bombers would get an init slot just like any enemy, they attack as normal (remember they are most likely Sil 3, so hitting dismounted characters will not be easy even before adding situational modifiers) damage as normal, add narrative to taste. If you are worried about exceeding WT have the fires team or bombers controlled by ungrouped minions, odds of a direct hit will be nice and low.

Despairs or Triumphs can be used to do things like end the fire mission or have the bombers run out of ammo (the limited ammo only defines the max bomb load, not the amount currently on board when the encounter started)

Its not a special rule set for the situation, but then do you really, truly, need one for this scenario?

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Agree with Kshatriya and kaosoe.

 

I would honestly be astonished if there's detailed mass combat rules. We may well get a 'handwaved' abstract system, but the EoE and AoR games really don't seem to be about this.  The way larger battles have been presented in adventures like 'Beyond the Rim' seem to bear this out.

 

I would assume running something like the Battle of Hoth would be done purely from the PC's perspective - Athletics to avoid being shot, Piloting to snare the AT-AT. Stuff happens all around them, like other speeders being shot or walkers crashing down, but that's mostly just background.

 

And Aramis, from this and other threads, you seem to be one of those types who likes a 'rule for everything' and the d20 style of doing things.  And EoE/AoR seem to be the direct antithesis of that. They are obviously not rules-heavy 'grognard' games.

 

Nothing I've seen in either game suggests to me they will be focusing on this.  I personally cannot see how mass combat rules would do anything but bog down the narrative style these games seem to be aiming at.

 

There's no minis combat, no complex rules for things like grappling, and it wouldn't surprise me in F&D that all these lightsaber 'styles' were merely narrative too.

Edited by Maelora

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No, I'm not a "Rule for Everything" kind. Tho' my name does appear in one of the larger d20 3rd party books...

I do want the most relevant material covered in a manner that works well. The current combat system is plenty fine if, and only if, one side is a single ship.

 

It utterly fails to be useful much past that point - at two separate units on both sides or 2 vs 3, it frays badly. At 3 units on each side, it's practically unworkable.

 

Note that the mass combat in the adventure in the beta has at least two squadrons of ties (of 12 TIE/Ln per squadron), one on patrol, one being launched, and the launching squadron is  2 fighters per round for 6 rounds, proving 12 fighters and strongly implying 2-fighter elements. It also has at least one, probably 2 PC ships (Their Lambda and the ship they steal), plus 12 X-wings from Nightmare squadron.

 

Even if one treats them as minion groups of 4 fighters each, that's still 12 vs 8. With a simple change to a movemen on a track of even distances, with ranges derived from the number of spaces/movement units distance, it suddenly becomes MUCH more workable; one can also track whether or not the PC's have moved past the range of the tractor beams.

 

It's a matter of simplification of the task of running it, because as written, it mires in uncertainties of range. 

 

It's also EXACTLY the same problem that lead to a LOT of units of Star Warriors selling during the WEG 1E run. 

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I'd have to disagree with the following statement (my emphasis):

... The current combat system is plenty fine if, and only if, one side is a single ship ... It utterly fails to be useful much past that point - at two separate units on both sides or 2 vs 3, it frays badly. At 3 units on each side, it's practically unworkable.

Simply because its not my experience, therefore the blunt and deterministic statement "utterly fails" is faulty. A more correct and pragmatic approach would include some degree of pragmatic and reasonable argument at least open to other experiences and outcomes beyond a deterministic "utterly fails."

 

I do not doubt that its your experience, otherwise you wouldn't be so active on this issue, but please be at least open to the fact that other people have another experience which do not at all mirror yours.

 

It's fine you want a tactical battle game, to some degree or another, but that seems not to be the approach these designers are taking. Rather than going for the battle map, big strategy, it seems they are going for the more narrative, experiential battle, how it is to be in the middle of the fray, to make decisions without seeing the whole map, the whole picture, because there is no time, there is little information and so on, hectic.

 

Of course this is not everyone's cup of brew, so I can understand your desire for a more rigid, two-dimensional, grid-work-ish tactical system. I just disagree its needed, nor that the existing system is such a failure that you make it up to be; perhaps on your premisses, but not on the internal premisses of the system... and of course, applying incompatible premisses when testing a system, without accepting the existing premisses will cause failure, but that is not a failure of the system, it is a failure to apply the correct premisses.

 

EDIT: to make clear the non-deterministic "accusation" I apparently have been insulting someone with.

Edited by Jegergryte

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It's fine you want a tactical battle game, to some degree or another, but that seems not to be the approach these designers are taking. Rather than going for the battle map, big strategy, it seems they are going for the more narrative, experiential battle, how it is to be in the middle of the fray, to make decisions without seeing the whole map, the whole picture, because there is no time, there is little information and so on, hectic.

 

Yeah, this.

 

I don't doubt what Aramis says about the battle issues is correct, at least in part. But the idea of a complex, bolt-on battle game for AoR seems remote to me.  They may well surprise me, but it seems to be going completely against the rules-light concept they have used thus far for the games.  

 

And I'm okay with that; I really don't want it to be like Pathfinder with all its complicated mini-games for ships, caravans, etc. That's fine for 'rule for everything' games but it seems to be going against what the FFG SW games are trying to achieve.

Edited by Maelora

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I'd have to disagree with the following statement (my emphasis):

... The current combat system is plenty fine if, and only if, one side is a single ship ... It utterly fails to be useful much past that point - at two separate units on both sides or 2 vs 3, it frays badly. At 3 units on each side, it's practically unworkable.

Simply because its not my experience, therefore the blunt and deterministic statement "utterly fails" is faulty. A more correct and pragmatic approach would include some degree of pragmatic and reasonable argument at least open to other experiences and outcomes beyond a deterministic "utterly fails."

 

I do not doubt that its your experience, otherwise you wouldn't be so active on this issue, but please be at least open to the fact that other people have another experience which do not at all mirror yours.

 

It's fine you want a tactical battle game, to some degree or another, but that seems not to be the approach these designers are taking. Rather than going for the battle map, big strategy, it seems they are going for the more narrative, experiential battle, how it is to be in the middle of the fray, to make decisions without seeing the whole map, the whole picture, because there is no time, there is little information and so on, hectic.

 

Of course this is not everyone's cup of brew, so I can understand your desire for a more rigid, two-dimensional, grid-work-ish tactical system. I just disagree its needed, nor that the existing system is such a failure that you make it up to be; perhaps on your premisses, but not on the internal premisses of the system... and of course, applying incompatible premisses when testing a system, without accepting the existing premisses will cause failure, but that is not a failure of the system, it is a failure to apply the correct premisses.

 

The system fails to answer the key questions in a significant battle, such as the one in the adventure in the beta book - those questions being:

  • Who can hit me?
  • Whom can I hit?

It can answer only with "You are close to this one unt at range X (because you maneuvered to hit it" and sometimes, "And since these guys moved to be able to hit you at range Y in aspect Z, they are at range Y."

It loses the detail so fast as to be worse than having no coverage at all. But then, you've given no indications of having actually used (or attempted to use) the system for such battles.

 

Further, you need to retake English, because I'm not asking for a full on minis game. I'm asking for a system where rhe range steps are smaller and even distance, rather than the current direct parallel to weapon distance, and that specific ranges are a number of them, so that a 1 dimensional track can be used, and pointing out that once you have that, the 2D and 3D crowds can use that as is for adapting from it.

But I can point to the included adventure with it's 37+ ships and a base involved as "They intend to cover significant battles"...

Plus, the inclusion of capital ships with their up to 150 fighters aboard.

The inclusion of talents aimed at mass battles.

The point of rules is to make it easier to run the type of game the game claims to be about. It claims to be about Rebel actions, including capital ship combats. Which means huge swaths of fighters. It means needing to know the range to your fighters, their fighters, their ship, and between your ship and their fighters, and their ship and your fighters.

 

With the single-unit focused system, it can't provide the needed level of detail. The abstraction actually makes it harder to run, because in abstracting the movement out, they've taken away the ability to judge just how far things have moved.

 

It's the same issue WEG 1E had.

 

Traveller avoided it by using even distance movement bands, but a number of them being counted to determine the range band for fire (Personal combat, Classic traveller, Bk 1). 

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While I do like mass combat (wegs mini battles were rather nifty) I've found in practice when integrating with an rpg they don't work so nice. Its just a matter of system differences. RPGs are about the heroes doing stuff, mass combat games can include heroes, but are about the bigger battle.

As is I as the GM can ensure my players are the ones who will put the torpedo into the star destroyer's bridge. If I go with mass combat rules my players might get the kill shot... But then so might gold squadron... Or blue squadron...

If you are getting overwhelmed by large battles, divy up the forces, leave your players to their share, resolve the rest using the quick rules on EotE pg 323. It ain't mass combat, but it does generate results that can affect the narrative down the road while keeping the camera on the players.

Edited by Ghostofman

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Further, you need to retake English, 

 

Way to make a polite point to Jegergryte.

 

You've been rude to me in the past too, but I let it go because you tend to make good points otherwise.

 

But c'mon, rein in the hostility.

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The system fails to answer the key questions in a significant battle, such as the one in the adventure in the beta book - those questions being:

  • Who can hit me?
  • Whom can I hit?
It can answer only with "You are close to this one unt at range X (because you maneuvered to hit it" and sometimes, "And since these guys moved to be able to hit you at range Y in aspect Z, they are at range Y."

It loses the detail so fast as to be worse than having no coverage at all. But then, you've given no indications of having actually used (or attempted to use) the system for such battles.

Or to respond in kind to your annoying attitude, you've not tried to learn the game and system, relearn it, reread it, stop trying to force your own premises upon a system because you lack the will or desire to understand and use it on its own premises.

 

Further, you need to retake English, because I'm not asking for a full on minis game. I'm asking for a system where rhe range steps are smaller and even distance, rather than the current direct parallel to weapon distance, and that specific ranges are a number of them, so that a 1 dimensional track can be used, and pointing out that once you have that, the 2D and 3D crowds can use that as is for adapting from it.

Way to go being a constructive part of the discussion... Ah yes, to stay within the level of where you want the debate go on: you must reread and learn English properly. If you read what I wrote, you'd see that I didn't accuse you of wanting a "full minis game", nowhere did I say that, so start understanding, stop assuming.

As I said, I figure you want and need a different system, and the existing system isn't designed to fit your desires. No I haven't used the system to keep track 37+ individual ships, but I've had battles, with an unspecified large fleet chasing the players group of ships. There was no need, nor time, to keep track, it was an improvised encounter, narrated by me and the players. Of course that won't qualify in your mind, and that's fine, but it was a large scale battle ending in the players' narrow escape, losing allied ships while taking out enemy fighters and damaging a CR90.

I can only say, once more, that the premises for this system assumes, the way I read it, a different approach to battles that is less rigid, where complete overview of the battle isn't needed, at least not to such detail. I gather you want more detail - no not necessarily a "full minis" game or anything - and that is fine, just be open minded enough to understand that not everyone need or desire that, the system works well as is, if you adapt to it.

Edited by Jegergryte

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Further, you need to retake English, 

Way to make a polite point to Jegergryte.

 

You've been rude to me in the past too, but I let it go because you tend to make good points otherwise.

 

But c'mon, rein in the hostility.

 

When he misconstrues what I've clearly and repeatedly stated, he is showing a lack of grasp of the language.

 

Further, both of you are demanding "tolerance" towards one spectrum while dercrying tolerance for a broader spectrum. The both of you are MORE rude than I've been. On the ErikB level of rude. That I finally got pissed off enough to let that out - he's got a potential out- English is obviously and explicitly not his native. What's your excuse?

 

I've consistently made it clear I want to see an option  - not a change to the whole system - an option that makes the game capable of living up to the expectations it has created with the materials presented in the beta, including a largish fighter brawl.

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You're remarkable in your own superiority, good on you... (particularly when comparing others to a user you don't like, very mature, very good... particularly your awareness as to "how rude" you've been or not been...)

 

I know full well what you're after and what you want, I have not misinterpreted anything, I think rather its you that do not understand simple English from a non-native speaker using simple easy language words... whatever that says about your grasp of your native sound emitted significant symbol words I do not really know...

 

I'll admit that I've perhaps not been perfectly clear, nor the most decent and humble (I'm in good company here), but I also think there's an issue with you taking whatever I say as an attack on your person or something, which if that's the case I apologise, but until you started deviating from the topic of the discussion and attacking me, that was never my desire nor what I attempted doing...

 

Anyway I have been trying to discuss the issue and how (and why) I disagree with you, this of course has been ignored and discarded, why? I don't really know, but I guess its because I'm inferior, or something... since I do not agree with your opinion, or whatever.

 

For what its worth I hope you get that optional rule you so desire and need (in the core book or a supplement in the future), so we can have an end to this... sadly I think you'll be disappointed when it comes to the core book, but then again you're perfectly capable of making your own stuff, which you have already done (and sent to FFG) if I recall correctly. Fingers crossed we'll at least have more stuff for mass combat, and space combat in general, with the update this week.

Edited by Jegergryte

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