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  #181  
Old 06-02-2023, 02:07 PM
Heffe Heffe is offline
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I like that idea. Unfortunately, early consensus seems to be that opposed recon rolls can't be helped (at all). I'm still waiting for a few more people to weigh in before I decide if it's kosher or not.

Here's another question: An enemy soldier lobs a grenade over a wall towards the PCs. He can't see them, but he has an idea where they are (he saw them move into [suspected] position the previous round). The rules say that for a ranged attack, the attacker must have LOS or they have to use the Indirect Fire rules. Looking at the latter, indirect fire requires a Forward Observer with LOS to the target. So, it appears that the rules don't allow for a grenade attack like the one described above. That's really unrealistic. Am I missing something?

-
We're probably getting into some hairy complications of the rules here, but I seem to recall that grenades can only attack hexes. So long as the thrower has LOS to the hex itself, then it would likely be okay.

You might now be asking yourself, "well how would you know on which side of the wall the grenade would land?", and you'd be right for asking that question. The only info we have regarding the answer is found on page 68 of the Player Manual under the Blast Damage section:

COVER: Solid cover (page 58) provides protection
against shielded hit locations, just like for a ranged
attack – unless the explosion occurs in the same hex
as the target.


In short, I don't think the rules are particularly helpful here, and a Referee ruling would probably be in order.
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  #182  
Old 06-02-2023, 02:16 PM
Claidheamh Claidheamh is offline
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Here's another question: An enemy soldier lobs a grenade over a wall towards the PCs. He can't see them, but he has an idea where they are (he saw them move into [suspected] position the previous round). The rules say that for a ranged attack, the attacker must have LOS or they have to use the Indirect Fire rules. Looking at the latter, indirect fire requires a Forward Observer with LOS to the target. So, it appears that the rules don't allow for a grenade attack like the one described above. That's really unrealistic. Am I missing something?

-
I'd allow the soldier to make an attack on the hex that he assumes the PCs moved into. I wouldn't be dogmatic about the specific indirect fire rule here, but obviously the attacker couldn't target anything but the _area_ he assumes the enemy is in.
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  #183  
Old 06-02-2023, 03:18 PM
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The thrown grenade should target the hex, not an individual PC. I mean, yeah, technically, the -3 "target in full cover" penalty should apply, but it's hard to not know where an adjacent hex is, even if it's on the far side of a wall.

- C.
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  #184  
Old 06-04-2023, 03:37 PM
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Default Practical Application

Thanks for the advice and council, fellas. Applying it, I rolled up an encounter and narrated the results in the post-apoc fiction sub-forum. (See post #28.)

https://forum.juhlin.com/showthread....4938#post94938

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  #185  
Old 06-05-2023, 02:08 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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You might like to look at the mod's answer to that in the official forum. I added rules from UrbOps to that: https://forum.frialigan.se/viewtopic.php?p=83750#p83750

Short version: UrbOps p. 19 has you answer for Close Quarters Combat. For regular combat, HE and frag hand grenades are aimed at hexes, so the wall is a penalizing feature at best.

AT hand grenades would be a different thing, since you need to aim it at a specific target. And yes, I'd argue, if you try to lob your RKG-3 anti-tank grenade against someone you cannot see, but are beyond close quarters combat, you'd be incredibly lucky to hit your target at all.
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  #186  
Old 06-06-2023, 10:11 AM
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Default Called Shots v. Vehicles

The rules are pretty clear on this, but I want to run it by y'all because what they say doesn't seem correct/realistic. Here's the scenario:

The PC machine gunner, operating a vehicle mounted DSHk HMG is shooting at a Zil-131 truck, which is approaching head-on. He wants to put his first burst into the truck's engine block. Aiming for a specific component means this is a Called Shot. So far, so good. Here's where the rules butt up against realism.

Called shots will never penetrate armor. (p.86)

The Zil has front armor of 1. That means a 12.7mm round (Damage 4, Armor 0) can't penetrate the truck's front grill? Huh? A hit, since it can't penetrate at all, can't damage the engine as engine is in the Penetration Damage column of the Component Damage table (p. 84). I'd have to use the result from the No Penetration column instead. In the engine row, the Non Penetration damage result would be "weapon", of which the Zil-131 is equipped with none. Basically, a hit on a Called Shot as described in the scenario, in this instance, produces no damage to the target.

The rules as stated basically nerfs the HMG and buffs a soft-skinned (i.e. unarmored, IRL) truck in the case of a Called Shot.

Am I missing something?

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  #187  
Old 06-06-2023, 10:43 AM
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Rae - I think your read of the rules is correct, but I also think that's just a poorly written rule.

I imagine the intent here was probably to avoid munchkin players from always aiming for ammunition or fuel in order to bypass the vehicle hit chart, but the rule ends up removing quite a bit of player agency. IMO, a houserule is probably in order here.

If it were me, I'd probably stick with the -2 for a called shot, but on a hit roll again to see if hitting the engine block actually has the expected outcome (presumably disabling the engine).
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  #188  
Old 06-09-2023, 02:18 PM
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Default Rads

Thanks all. I feel better equipped to handle a called shot v. vehicle situation in the future.

I pulled the Rain of Ash card from the random encounter deck. Looking at the rules for rads in the Player Handbook (p. 80), there doesn't seem to be any penalty for accumulating permanent rads (other than the sickness that can be caused by exposure to "new" rads, temporary and/or permanent). According to the rules, a PC that starts with six permanent rads doesn't appear to have any disadvantages compared to a PC that starts with 1, and that holds true if any additional permanent rads are accumulated during the course of the game. For example, if they are both exposed to any "new" rads, they both have the same chances of becoming sick, and the same symptoms if they fall ill. That all seems a bit strange. It's more intuitive that the PC with more rads should become more ill.

EDIT: I missed something in the rules, as usual.

"Every time you gain a rad, you must immediately roll for STAMINA to resist radiation poisoning (see Diseases on the next page). The virulence of the disease is equal to +4 minus your total rad count." (p. 80)

So, someone with more permanent rads has greater odds of suffering symptoms of radiation poisoning.

The question below, however, still stands.

What happens when a PC reaches the maximum number of permanent rad points accommodated on the standard char-sheet (there are 10 boxes total)? Death?

It seems like something's missing, or maybe I'm just missing something.

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  #189  
Old 06-09-2023, 02:45 PM
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New houserule proposal: Radiation Induced Cancer

Roll for the onset of cancer. Based upon the number of permanent rads the character has, they roll a corresponding die anytime they're exposed and gain a new permanent rad. On a roll of 3 or less, cancer has started growing somewhere on the players body.

If a character develops cancer, every month without treatment the player must subtract a die from an attribute of their choice. When the character has an attribute drop further than D, the character dies.

Permanent rads:
7 rads - 1d12
8 rads - 1d10
9 rads - 1d8
10 rads - 1d6
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  #190  
Old 06-09-2023, 03:05 PM
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New houserule proposal: Radiation Induced Cancer

Roll for the onset of cancer. Based upon the number of permanent rads the character has, they roll a corresponding die anytime they're exposed and gain a new permanent rad. On a roll of 3 or less, cancer has started growing somewhere on the players body.

If a character develops cancer, every month without treatment the player must subtract a die from an attribute of their choice. When the character has an attribute drop further than D, the character dies.
I like this idea. To make it a little less harsh, I think I'd modifying it so that the PC only starts rolling once they've accumulated more than 10 permanent rads.

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  #191  
Old 06-09-2023, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
The question below, however, still stands.

What happens when a PC reaches the maximum number of permanent rad points accommodated on the standard char-sheet (there are 10 boxes total)? Death?

It seems like something's missing, or maybe I'm just missing something.
It's not well-articulated at all, but radiation sickness' inclusion on the disease table on p.81 makes me think the design intent is for it to be treated as any other disease, albeit with a different method of "infection." Thus, if a character is suffering from radiation sickness, he's taking damage and is unable to heal damage, the same as any other disease - and he can die if incapacitated. A character with more permanent rads will be dealing with a more severe virulence modifier, and thus will find it harder to recover on his subsequent infection rolls.

- C.
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  #192  
Old 06-28-2023, 08:02 PM
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Default Languages

One area in which I think the 4e rules fall well short is how they handle languages. In 4e, it's pretty much all or nothing. You can either speak a language very well, or you can't speak it at all. The only wiggle room in the rules as written in the Nationality (Languages) subsection of the Character Creation chapter. It states (paraphrasing here) that everyone speaks a little English, and that Warsaw Pact personnel all speak a little Russian.

A PC can learn another language in the game by using skill points to take the Linguist Specialty. However, according to that rule, adding that specialty could conceivably take a PC from not being able to speak a lick of another language to being mistaken for a native speaker of it! That's simply not realistic.

INGUIST: You know another language of your choice, well enough to be taken as native on a successful PERSUASION roll. (p. 51 of the Player's Manual)

As anyone who's learned a second language can attest, it takes time to learn and build proficiency and fluency- sometimes years! I lived in South America for 6 years as a teenager and I still wouldn't consider myself fluent in Spanish.

In v2.2, at least, you could be a little proficient, or moderately so, or fluent, by allocating skill points to a second language. It was tricky (and pretty subjective) to determine how well a PC could speak another language in that ruleset because it wasn't really clearly explained what the numbers meant, but at least there were degrees of proficiency.

How have other 4e ref's dealt with second languages?

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  #193  
Old 06-29-2023, 05:20 AM
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I share your irritation.

My solution is to allow each PC one non-native language for each Empathy rank above D. They have limited vocabulary and can never pass as a native speaker, but they can hold a basic conversation. I've kept Linguist working as written. My table has been happy with that arrangement so far.

- C.
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  #194  
Old 06-29-2023, 01:49 PM
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Agreed here as well - the language system in 4e seems to have been pretty intentionally left simplified, and the version suffers for it.

I've had my crew be able to speak a smattering of Polish simply from osmosis in the default setting (by Ref fiat), and then linguist allows for additional languages as written. It's not great a great system though, especially when no one happened to get the linguist specialty on character creation. As a result, there are a fair number of Poles that speak English. :|
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  #195  
Old 06-30-2023, 07:07 AM
Claidheamh Claidheamh is offline
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Default Languages

I've been mulling how to deal with languages for the players in my forthcoming campaign as well. I'm considering a three tiered approach to languages:

- 1 rank - speaks a pidgin of the language, can generally make themselves understood, but no nuance and plenty of misunderstandings. -1 penalty for Persuasion checks, -2 for any sort of disguise or subterfuge.

- 2 ranks - speaks language well, but with noticeable accent and some malapropisms. -1 penalty if trying to disguise as a native speaker

- 3 ranks - equivalent of Linguist specialty, character speaks language like a native.

Since I'm also dabbling with some alternate character creation mechanics (around starting equipment), I'm going to roll this fluency into character creation. I hadn't thought about experience points and development, need to roll that around a little more.
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  #196  
Old 06-30-2023, 12:14 PM
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Default Language as a New Skill

I like your ranking idea, Claidheamh. It might be worthwhile to make Language its own skill (under the Intelligence attribute), with D through A levels indicating levels of proficiency. This would relegate the Linguist specialty to attempts to pass as a native speaker, but that's pretty much how it's currently written in the rules anyway.

In line with Heffe's reasoning, I've always given PCs at least very rudimentary language skills for whatever campaign setting we're using as a matter of course, as long as the PC has spent more than a few months there before the IG action starts. As I've been thinking about this topic, I remembered a reason besides osmosis to continue this practice.

In WW2 (and other 20th century wars, I am sure), US troops were issued with small, basic French phrase books before the D-Day landings. They contained not only touristy words and phrases (e.g. "May I use the bathroom, please?"), but some martial ones as well (e.g. "Where are the German soldiers?"). It stands to reason that the DoD would issue similar Polish phrase books as soon as the fighting moves into Poland*. These would have been issued up to the start of nuclear warfare, at least. PCs could either "buy" this item as part of their starting equipment, or find it during scrounging (something similar could be in the 4e loot tables already).

Access to a basic phrase booklet and exposure to / immersion in the local culture would give US troops in Poland (or wherever) for more than a few months would allow for very basic proficiency in Polish. Think of it as the PC being able to use and understand simple phrases that one might find in an average travel guide (e.g. "Where is the bathroom.").

So, "translating" these principles into skill levels could look something like this:

D- Exposure to local language = beginner (e.g. yes, no, please, thank you)
C- "" plus access to store-bought or G.I. phrase book for local language = basic grasp (Excuse me. Where is the library?)
B- "" plus immersion in local culture (i.e. frequent practice using local language) = proficient
A- all of the above = fluent
Linguist [specialty] = fluent and native-like pronunciation

*IMHO, it would be perfectly reasonable to extend these suppositions to other national military forces (e.g. the BAEF) or campaign settings (e.g. Sweden).

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  #197  
Old 06-30-2023, 12:37 PM
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I think you're on to something with those skill levels, Rae - that feels appropriate and matches the schema of FL's other skills. It's still abstracted, but better represents how learning languages works in real life.

Translated to real life I'd be a D in German (used to be a C), a C in Spanish, and being my native language, I'd have an A and linguist specialty in English.
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  #198  
Old 06-30-2023, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
I like your ranking idea, Claidheamh. It might be worthwhile to make Language its own skill (under the Intelligence attribute), with D through A levels indicating levels of proficiency. This would relegate the Linguist specialty to attempts to pass as a native speaker, but that's pretty much how it's currently written in the rules anyway.
I'm hesitant to add a new formal skill into the 4e system, since it disrupts the simplicity of the 12 skills in the RaW, and new skill ranks are handed out pretty carefully in the rules. But I do like the A-D rank structure, as it keeps the nomenclature consistent (my gaming group is a mix of casual gamers who want easy to understand rules and a few hardcore nerds who will break down every part of the rules themselves).

If you're going with languages as a new skill, I'd put it under EMP, since that seems to be where all interpersonal skills live.

Quote:
In WW2 (and other 20th century wars, I am sure), US troops were issued with small, basic French phrase books before the D-Day landings. They contained not only touristy words and phrases (e.g. "May I use the bathroom, please?"), but some martial ones as well (e.g. "Where are the German soldiers?"). It stands to reason that the DoD would issue similar Polish phrase books as soon as the fighting moves into Poland*. These would have been issued up to the start of nuclear warfare, at least. PCs could either "buy" this item as part of their starting equipment, or find it during scrounging (something similar could be in the 4e loot tables already).

Access to a basic phrase booklet and exposure to / immersion in the local culture would give US troops in Poland (or wherever) for more than a few months would allow for very basic proficiency in Polish. Think of it as the PC being able to use and understand simple phrases that one might find in an average travel guide (e.g. "Where is the bathroom.").
I completely agree that most troops would easily get the basics of communication in Polish, German (and maybe Czech or Russian), I plan to make it easy for a PC to choose basic competence (Rank "C") in a language or two, more skill will require a larger investment at creation time. I offer the ability to have Rank D, for those PCs who decide that they have relied completely on the tried and true American communication method of speaking English more loudly and slowly, while waving their hands.
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Old 06-30-2023, 01:38 PM
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Hah! That's great, Claidheamh. Agreed that it should probably live under EMP somehow.

As a suggestion, perhaps a die roll during character creation in order to determine if other languages are known at level C (or above) and how many, but the die results would vary by nation of origin. For example:

American character
1-3: No additional languages
4-5: 1 additional language
6: 2 additional languages

German character
1: 1 additional language
2-4: 2 additional languages
5-6: 3 additional languages
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  #200  
Old 06-30-2023, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claidheamh View Post
I'm hesitant to add a new formal skill into the 4e system, since it disrupts the simplicity of the 12 skills in the RaW, and new skill ranks are handed out pretty carefully in the rules.

If you're going with languages as a new skill, I'd put it under EMP, since that seems to be where all interpersonal skills live.
I understand your hesitation re adding a new skill. Maybe we should consider a simpler alternative than adding new mechanics. How about sticking to the rules and just rolling against EMP? It's already SOP in 4e (from p. 44 in the PM: "If you don’t have a level in the skill you’re using, just roll one for the attribute."), so nothing new there. Without a language skill (which doesn't exist in the base rules), a PC would only be rolling the attribute die, so there'd be less chance of success than rolling a pair of dice (1 for attribute + 1 for skill). The slight tweak is this: the Ref can add or subtract multipliers based on the circumstances (which is already a feature of the base rules). For example:

1.) The NPC has a strong regional accent? That's -1.
2.) The NPC uses complex technical jargon? That's -1.
3.) For both of the above, it would be -2.)
4.) The NPC speaks slowly and uses small words? That's +1.

etc.

This would add a little realism without really complicating the rules, as written. Every PC can at least attempt to communicate in another language (based on their EMP score alone). PCs with higher EMP would have a better chance of making themselves understood. Circumstances could make attempts at communicating in another language easier or more difficult, depending on various helpful or complicating factors. It's still abstract, but a little more nuanced this way.

Thoughts?

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Last edited by Raellus; 07-01-2023 at 02:25 PM.
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  #201  
Old 07-04-2023, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
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One area in which I think the 4e rules fall well short is how they handle languages. In 4e, it's pretty much all or nothing. You can either speak a language very well, or you can't speak it at all. The only wiggle room in the rules as written in the Nationality (Languages) subsection of the Character Creation chapter. It states (paraphrasing here) that everyone speaks a little English, and that Warsaw Pact personnel all speak a little Russian.

-
That also bugged me endlessly and it's extremely unrealistic especially for European native who underwent compulsory language trainings in multiple languages during school and thus usually remembered a couple of words, but wouldn't be native in any language but their own.

Hence we extended the rules on languages and all characters speak their native tongue plus some English or Russian (as per the rules) and then 1 additional language per level in Intelligence above D. This is meant to reflect school education and proficiency in these languages is meant to be on a "working" level.
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  #202  
Old 07-05-2023, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
I understand your hesitation re adding a new skill. Maybe we should consider a simpler alternative than adding new mechanics. How about sticking to the rules and just rolling against EMP? It's already SOP in 4e (from p. 44 in the PM: "If you don’t have a level in the skill you’re using, just roll one for the attribute."), so nothing new there. Without a language skill (which doesn't exist in the base rules), a PC would only be rolling the attribute die, so there'd be less chance of success than rolling a pair of dice (1 for attribute + 1 for skill). The slight tweak is this: the Ref can add or subtract multipliers based on the circumstances (which is already a feature of the base rules). For example:

1.) The NPC has a strong regional accent? That's -1.
2.) The NPC uses complex technical jargon? That's -1.
3.) For both of the above, it would be -2.)
4.) The NPC speaks slowly and uses small words? That's +1.

etc.

This would add a little realism without really complicating the rules, as written. Every PC can at least attempt to communicate in another language (based on their EMP score alone). PCs with higher EMP would have a better chance of making themselves understood. Circumstances could make attempts at communicating in another language easier or more difficult, depending on various helpful or complicating factors. It's still abstract, but a little more nuanced this way.

Thoughts?

-
Raellus - I think this is a good, simple way of resolving communications, and it fits with the RaW pretty well (esp the emphasis on bonus / penalties). I may still tweak my character creation a bit, since I'm house ruling a set of 'points' for players to fudge a dice roll or start with additional equipment, and I might figure out how to add language to that list as well.

Ursus - I agree that the character creation rules don't deal with school based training realistically (at least as I understand them). I can say that US based language training is pretty crappy unless you live in an area where you need to exist bilingually.
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  #203  
Old 07-05-2023, 07:13 AM
Claidheamh Claidheamh is offline
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Default Scout Specialization

Mucked around with character creation some with 2 players who'll be in my upcoming campaign, and I noticed that "Scout" is not available as a specialization in any Military career - it's only available to Police, Criminal, and Intelligence career paths. This seems 'off' to me, I think it should at least be available in the Military : At War path.

Thoughts?
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  #204  
Old 07-06-2023, 09:46 AM
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Default Recon RETCON

That omission seems odd. Scout isn't even a specialty listed under the Operator archetype, which doesn't make sense because the raison d'etre of many special operations forces is long-range reconnaissance (i.e. scouting). IMHO, there's a much stronger case for military characters to have Scout as a specialty than for criminals and law enforcement characters.

For Archetype PCs, there's nothing in the rules that says players can't select Scout as a specialty, although it's not listed under the "recommended options".

As for Lifepath PCs, as a Ref I would house rule that Scout is an available selection for "operators" and "grunts", if not all military builds.

-
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  #205  
Old 07-06-2023, 06:25 PM
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I think you're running into the limitations of a lifepath system built on a very small number of d6 tables.

- C.
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  #206  
Old 07-12-2023, 12:38 AM
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I think that is probably true. I wouldn't mind changing them to d8 tables - I started but never finished
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  #207  
Old 07-17-2023, 04:02 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
I think you're running into the limitations of a lifepath system built on a very small number of d6 tables.

- C.
If FL aims at further developing that product line - of which I'm not certain, as I see more of a broad and less a deep approach in their product line - I'd wish fore a refurbishment of their character generation. Something that gives us more options and wider tables.
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Old 07-19-2023, 02:58 PM
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Default Oracle Question

I'm not mathematically minded so when questions of probability come up, I lack confidence, and fear making the wrong call.

Should I shuffle the deck of playing cards I use for an "Oracle" for my solo campaign after each draw, or should I run through the entire deck before reshuffling?

If I was only drawing to ask Yes/No questions, or determine if something was Helpful or Hazardous, then running through the entire deck would guarantee a 50-50 split across 52 draws, and that doesn't seem particularly realistic. But then what about the law of averages?

I'm drawing from the same deck when using the other tables (NPC Motivations, Settlement Problem and Attitude, and Further Elements) in the solo rules as well, so that complicates the Yes/No & Helpful/Hazardous probability issue.

I hope this question makes sense. As I said before, my number sense is not very good.

-
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  #209  
Old 07-19-2023, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post

If I was only drawing to ask Yes/No questions, or determine if something was Helpful or Hazardous, then running through the entire deck would guarantee a 50-50 split across 52 draws, and that doesn't seem particularly realistic. But then what about the law of averages?

-
I'd argue that guaranteeing a 50/50 ye/no outcome over 52 draws was Ok.

Perhaps flip a coin for yes/nos to remove the cards issue?

Thinking about this more, and something i haven't done myself but am now thinking i might do it for my own solo campaign. I'm considering shuffling the random encounter deck after each encounter.

Why? Because who says you can't run into back to back military patrols? Or civilian hunters? Or bad weather over two consecutive days? In fact i'd argue this makes more sense not to remove the card, not less. Further, if you have an encounter and put the card aside - then you know you won't have to deal with that "encounter issue" again, which removes from the game.

So while i have not answered your question, i think i am going to shuffle the random encounter deck and improve my game because of it.
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Old 07-25-2023, 04:37 PM
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Default Modifying Skill Rolls?

Here's a brief scenario. The PCs are planning to ambush an enemy convoy. Since it's a "group ambush" (technically, it's waylaying), I have to roll an opposed Recon check for the PC with the lowest Recon score. That PC does not have the Recon skill (F?). For skill rolls involving Recon, this PC can only roll their attribute base die which, in this case, is C. The whole party spends a shift preparing to waylay the convoy, earning a +3 modifier to the Recon roll.

In this scenario, how do I step up the base die? There's only one base die to start off with- the Attribute. The rules instruct players to balance their die whenever adding or subtracting modifiers.

Do I:

Step up the Attribute from C to B (+1), and B to A (+2) then stop, as there's no second base die (the non-existent skill) to step up?

OR

Do I step up the Attribute base die from C to B (+1). Then step up the Skill base die from F (non-existent) to D (+2), then raise it again to C (+3), so that the two base dice are close to balanced?

OR

Do I step up the Attribute from C to B (+1), then step it up again to A (+2) and then raise the skill F to D (+3)?

-
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