omnipus
Posts: 320
Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Sun 10 Jan 2021, 23:09

Yes, and in principle I like that a lot.

In practice, it's not exactly optimal. Relying on 6s for extra hits or suppression means you get them only on max ammo usage. This, in turn, increases the rate at which you need to reload (which has the same functional effect as suppression -- it costs you actions). If you are going for it on purpose, then you are also subjecting yourself to added mishap risk. There's not a very significant margin here to go into the black, really. Doing the odds like leonpoi helpfully did is beyond me right now, but I'm sure you could prove this out.

I said in the character generation thread that I'd like to see more of the specialties offer "feats" or "talents" (like Forbidden Lands does), that would offer characters with specific training more opportunities to bend and break the rules, rather than just "here's a +1." Both suppressive fire and ammo conservation seem like excellent places to do this sort of thing. Since they are specialties, you can deviate from the standard rules a bit further without big mental complexity cost, because you know they will only apply to certain characters when they do certain things.

For instance: Machine Gunner - you are trained in the art of denying ground to the enemy through continuous fire. When you shoot, if you don't roll any 6s on ammo dice, you still generate a suppression result if any two of the ammo dice you rolled add up to 6+.

Could be worded better but you hopefully get the idea.
 
paladin2019
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon 07 Dec 2020, 09:16

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Sun 10 Jan 2021, 23:36

Suppression happens on a hit and affects can affect all like mooks in a hex.
 
welsh
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Mon 11 Jan 2021, 01:34

Reloading costs you an action, but your fire team partner ought to be laying down suppressive fire while you do. So what it costs you is movement. :)
 
omnipus
Posts: 320
Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Mon 11 Jan 2021, 02:15

My point is that it's not really gaining you much in the action economy versus the effects of being suppressed. Sure, it's more valuable if you have multiple friendlies working on the same target... but then again that could be said for just about anything.

And it has nothing to do with whether your attack hits or not.
 
paladin2019
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon 07 Dec 2020, 09:16

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Mon 11 Jan 2021, 04:16

And it has nothing to do with whether your attack hits or not.
What has nothing to do with suppression; whether hitting causes it or your assessment suppression's utility vis-a-vis ammo dice?
 
leonpoi
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri 08 Jan 2021, 05:10

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Mon 11 Jan 2021, 17:39

Yes. Good point below. How about 6s are hits or suppression and 3s are suppression only? That way it’s not more deadly per se directly, but you don’t have to use max ammo (6) to suppress and guns with mag size < 6 can still suppress? It also means you can get a combo of a hits and suppression in an attack
Yes, and in principle I like that a lot.

In practice, it's not exactly optimal. Relying on 6s for extra hits or suppression means you get them only on max ammo usage. This, in turn, increases the rate at which you need to reload (which has the same functional effect as suppression -- it costs you actions). If you are going for it on purpose, then you are also subjecting yourself to added mishap risk. There's not a very significant margin here to go into the black, really. Doing the odds like leonpoi helpfully did is beyond me right now, but I'm sure you could prove this out.

I said in the character generation thread that I'd like to see more of the specialties offer "feats" or "talents" (like Forbidden Lands does), that would offer characters with specific training more opportunities to bend and break the rules, rather than just "here's a +1." Both suppressive fire and ammo conservation seem like excellent places to do this sort of thing. Since they are specialties, you can deviate from the standard rules a bit further without big mental complexity cost, because you know they will only apply to certain characters when they do certain things.

For instance: Machine Gunner - you are trained in the art of denying ground to the enemy through continuous fire. When you shoot, if you don't roll any 6s on ammo dice, you still generate a suppression result if any two of the ammo dice you rolled add up to 6+.

Could be worded better but you hopefully get the idea.
 
welsh
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Mon 11 Jan 2021, 20:26

You already do get a combo of hits and suppression in attacks. Attacks that hit also suppress automatically.

Suppression is about weight of fire. It makes sense that a high rate of fire gets a suppressing effect.
 
omnipus
Posts: 320
Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Mon 11 Jan 2021, 20:48

Yes. Suppression is psychological. Realistically, it should go up from any combination of spooky factors. A rapid, sustained burst from an SMG that hits nearby should cause it (and largely can, with existing ammo rules). The distinctive loud rapid snap of a few SAW rounds should do the same. The distinctive louder snap of single close round from a .308 hunting rifle should do the same. 25mm rounds going off anywhere around you should, definitely and immediately. The rules do a very good job with some of this stuff. Just needs the rest filled out to be complete.

Tomas has already stated that they are definitely revising the rules for ammo dice as they relate to small mag sizes. We'll see what that means.

As for other stuff: more actual firefight playtesting yesterday. Party used a LOT of ammo dice from SMGs and RPKs during a night fight. They inflicted a pretty good amount of suppression, to go along with fewer actual hits. And they went through a LOT of ammo, and now realize they are in a precarious position for future fights. Only one mishap was triggered, and with my house rules for that, it didn't have an enormous consequence. For a close-range night fight, this felt pretty good. For a campaign, it has more implications of everything leading somewhat toward a spiral. They won that fight with few injuries. But now they have a lot less ammo, damaged armor, less grenades, and lower weapon reliability. They don't seem to feel that they can stop and scrounge or make repairs. I can and probably will scale down threats for a bit. But I've been finding the game flows better to loosely apply the world travel rules. If you were playing it strict, you'd probably run into more and more problems unless they can somehow make a big score soon.

Other thing to note: suppression and so on feels good and realistic. It also as a matter of course makes for longer fights as each side struggles to actually put enemies down for good.

(note: this entire engagement was an ambush they set, which a group of refugees stumbled into. They didn't really bother to try to ID the figures approaching in the dark before opening up. So not only did they shred a bunch of helpless civilians, oops, they also got next to no good loot out of the deal. If it had been against a better armed unit they might at least have broken even on ammo or weapons I guess.)
 
welsh
Posts: 153
Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Tue 12 Jan 2021, 00:13

There is a general problem in RPGs and in wargames: the player risks nothing, while in combat people are quite aware that they risk everything, so players are much less cautious than their characters should be. Firefights are always about winning, when in many situations both sides prefer to disengage if there is no clear goal or if their goal looks unachievable. Nobody really wants to fight to the death because fighting to the death involves dying.

In my experience many GMs never have NPCs disengage unless they fail some kind of morale check, and many players and GMs make characters act recklessly in all kinds of ways. So suppression rules / morale rules / etc. seem always to devolve into a way of forcing the player to take care. But I don't think this is what suppression (or any morale check) ought to be about.

With respect to the single .308 round going past your ear, this isn't going to lead trained troops to panic. Duck into cover, sure, but they aren't going to momentarily lose their ability to function. People who are pinned down by a sniper are not panicking; they are making a rational decision to remain under cover and not to move. The test of this is in their ability to do all kinds of constructive things that don't involve sticking their heads up. They can talk on the radio, they can make plans, they can throw a smoke grenade ... but in RPG-world, they will stick their heads up and fire back or run out into the open because the consequences of being shot are small. Maybe if every hit was a critical ... maybe if RPGs were so popular and GMs so few that losing a character put you at the bottom of a six-month waiting list ... maybe if RPG players had developed a convention whereby all players wear canine shock collars set to max intensity and being hit means the GM nicks you.... (Actually that would likely do it.)

But this is not what suppression models. A suppressed character is not just being cautious; he may take no action at all. He is panicking.

So I think it's necessary to be clear re what we expect suppression to model. If we want it to be a means of preventing players from having their characters act in foolhardy ways, then any incoming fire can achieve suppression. But if we expect it to be about panic then it's going to be about weight of fire, which means that single shots aren't likely to cause suppression. The game is not modelling weapons effects perfectly; the 25 mm ought to suppress much more easily than an M16. But making it easier for a bolt-action rifle to achieve suppression is skewing that in the wrong direction, IMO.
 
omnipus
Posts: 320
Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: Ammo Dice...why?

Tue 12 Jan 2021, 03:06

That's fair, I guess. The character can make the conscious choice of whether to seek cover and try to protect themselves from incoming sniper fire by using cover, going prone, etc. True.

I don't necessarily buy that they are completely divorced, however. Taking no action at all doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as panic. It could mean that the character is carefully considering their surroundings, analyzing the cover, making sure they and their fellows are okay. It means they are not capable of decisive and immediate action, yes. This interpretation is somewhat undercut by the inability, potentially, to do things like reload and so on. But I also think it's important in roleplaying games to leave some whitespace so the character can show what they do, rather than having it all prescribed at them.

The closest we'll come in RPGs to people acting realistically, I think, is having players truly invest and care about their characters. You won't get the physiological responses that drive fight or flight or any other basic human mechanism. So simulating combat will always be an aloof endeavor to some degree or another.

But, definitely agreed on disengagement and how it should be stressed more often. I always set a break point for any NPC force at which they will definitely withdraw. If anything particularly horrific happens before then, I create some sort of test against it. Disclaiming ownership of everything that happens and leaving it up to dice is a very useful tool. (it's the one that created the entire scenario described above, and the NPCs reaction, which was to flee the moment grenades and automatic fire started popping off out of the darkness at them. When I had time, I considered NPC motivations and decided that one or two of these guys were pissed off enough, and surrounded enough, that they had no option but to shoot back. The scene worked itself out from there.)

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