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Old 02-19-2022, 08:00 AM
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Default [4e] Initial thoughts on combat

My solo gaming lately has been Five Parsecs From Home, but I sidelined it this week to try to get a better understanding of the 4th edition combat rules before I run a short campaign for my old college group. The following is a fairly lengthy list of my takeaways.

(A note: I did not back the Kickstarter due to not receiving the "ending soon" reminder email, and I avoided any of the preview material in favor of waiting for the finished product. Thus, my first exposure to 4e was cracking open a locally-sourced boxed set in late December. I may be behind the curve compared to those of you who've been casting a critical eye toward it for months now.)

My first impression is that this is both much faster and much more lethal than previous editions, though it has some idiosyncrasies that I'll probably house-rule.

I generated a party of six PCs with the life path rules (which are a separate issue begging for a better character creation system). I selected the most combat-capable three of those and put them up against three stock marauder NPCs with AKMs. At the start of the fight, the marauders were looting an abandoned farm when they spotted the PCs coming and tried to set up for an ambush. The PCs were just starting after escaping from Kalisz and hoping to acquire a vehicle; the marauders' HMMWV provided an appealing option.

The marauders' plan was to take the PCs under fire as they entered the open space between the two main houses. However, the opposed Recon check did not go in the ambushers' favor and combat played out without ambush effects.



I won't post the grueling 18-turn combat log here, but the end result was rather bloody. Despite the PCs having a distinct advantage in skills and armor, a couple of good critical hits on the marauders' part made the fight a lot more even. At the end, Blue 01 was down and bleeding out from an "arm arterial bleeding" critical. Blue 04 was unconscious from pushing a Hail Mary attack roll. Blue 02 was still up but had taken 4 of his 5 hits and was also bleeding out from a "shattered elbow" critical. In the absence of a medic, Blue 01 and Blue 02 both would have bled to death. On the marauder side, Red 02 and Red 03 were both down, while Red 05 was scampering away untouched with a newly-acquired M16A2.

So, as I said, this system is much more lethal.

Lessons learned, in no particular order:

• I'm definitely not a fan of the card draw initiative. It fails to take any degree of PC competence (or NPC competence) into account. This is definitely a candidate for a house rule, perhaps using Coolness Under Fire for something like Five Parsecs' Reaction-based initiative (if you succeed, you go before the NPCs; if you fail, you go after the NPCs), modified if you're facing green (+1) or elite (-1) NPCs.

• Suppression is a nasty piece of action economy that feels plausible and can completely ruin a plan. Maintaining unit cohesion to get the additional Coolness Under Fire die from unit morale is absolutely key to avoiding suppression effects, even for a character with CUF A (d12).

• The real value of smaller explosives, particularly grenade launchers and hand grenades, seems to be to inflict suppression checks and knockdown rather than to do damage. You can't rely on them to produce casualties.

• On a map with 10m hexes where your base movement (before terrain modifiers) is 2, the Mobility skill and its bonus movement on a successful check are key to any sort of tactical maneuvering.

• The Stamina skill doesn't seem to come into play a lot during combat. However, after the fight, it's kinda key to not bleeding out if you take one of the 19 (out of 40 possible) critical hit effects that has the potential to be lethal.

• I didn't have a medic in this fight, but post-combat survival also seems to hinge on keeping the medic alive so they can render skilled, effective aid after combat. By extension, I think the best medic weapon is crew-served, indirect-fire, or a sniper rifle.

• For a group that's armored and firing from cover, arm critical hits will be the most common crits. Having a sidearm ensures that you can keep shooting after taking an arm crit, because any arm crit either inflicts a -2 penalty on using two-handed weapons or makes it impossible.

• I was wondering whether a one-point difference in Range was enough to differentiate an M4 from an M16. The answer is yes, it's quite significant if your fight is occurring at 5 hexes.

• The 1d6 hit table makes head hits a lot more common than they were in previous editions - perhaps too common. I'm mentally tinkering with a 1d10 hit table: 1-2 legs, 3-7 torso, 8-9 arms, 10 head, with partial cover providing protection on a 1-6. That would allow a chance of an upper torso hit on a target shooting from cover, with a net 40% chance of bypassing that cover versus the RAW 33% chance.

• Cover is your friend. Even if hits on cover still yield suppression, it's better than bleeding out.

• When cover has a definite orientation on the map, maneuvering to flank an enemy position and rake it with enfilading fire is definitely a viable tactic.

• Team tactics: waiting until an opponent is suppressed and then running in to curbstomp him before he recovers is kind of frightening. The +2 for close combat attacks against a prone target can be decisive quickly.

• Use smoke or suppression to disrupt overwatch before moving through a covered area. There is no skill to make shooting you harder.

• When bonuses and penalties are assessed in terms of die type rather than numerical result, even a +1 bonus feels good to have, especially if it pushes a d8 to a d10 (or negates the -1 penalty that would drop a d10 to a d8). Compare this to D&D, where a +1 is rather meh.

• I'm undecided on the utility of ammo dice. A 1 in 6 chance of being effective feels rather underwhelming and they didn't generate a lot of benefit. However, a couple of times, they did generate an extra hit that resulted in one round getting past cover.

Things I was running incorrectly and need to remember for the next time I do this:

• Pushing a roll only inflicts damage if you have 1s on the base dice after the push, not every time you push.

• Only ranged attacks inflict suppression. Melee combat doesn't.

• I forgot the -1 penalty for attacking a moving target. This might have been key in not critting and disarming one of the PCs early in the fight (arm hit while entering an overwatch-targeted hex).

• I wasn't consistently applying the fast action requirement to enter cover.

• I ignored the -1 penalty to attacks with an M4 or M16 that has an M203 mounted and I likely will continue to ignore this on purpose because it irrationally offends me.

All in all, I'm happy with combat in 4e. It needs some tweaks to get it to run the way I want, but not many. Moreover, it's (relatively) simple enough that I think D&D groups with some first-person shooter experience - your prototypical modern gamer - will be able to pick it up without the friction that would've characterized a group's conversion from "the world's most popular fantasy RPG" to earlier Twilight: 2000 editions. I've previously speculated that this was (or should have been) a design objective for this edition and I think they got it mostly right. It's clearly not D&D but I think your average D&D5 group will be able to get their heads around it in a way that 2.2 or Reflex would've been a struggle.

My last comment is that the gameplay reminds me quite favorably of a tabletop RPG implementation of X-COM. The action economy, movement, suppression, and cover mechanics all have that turn-based tactical shooter flow. In that, 4e oddly feels more wargame-ish than previous editions.

- C.
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Old 02-19-2022, 01:07 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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MUTANT uses the same damage system and I have two solutions for the lethality issue.

#1 = Suggested in Free League's forums is to give the PCs 10 Wounds instead of 5.

#2 = My take from my Runequest gaming days would be to give EACH HIT LOCATION 5 wounds and just use the most wounded location for penalties.

I also think I'd roll a die based on the CUF score for the initiative order.
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Old 02-19-2022, 02:50 PM
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Great write up.

what's your thoughts on how the map system worked Tegyrius? Did it help or hinder? Was it fiddly or sharpen game play?
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Old 02-19-2022, 06:01 PM
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Pretty good observations. Although a bit more abstracted from other rules I've played for modern combat, including prior T2K editions, I think most of what's been abstracted away is definitely beneficial and the rules provide what I find to be very plausible results at (usually) acceptable speed.

I personally wouldn't recommend substantially increasing PC's vitality, but it all depends on the tone of the game you want to run. But, even if you double their hit points, they can still be cut down instantly by a single critical hit. To me all of this is a feature and not a problem, especially in line with the theme of the game.

I think you're mistaken regarding ammo dice -- in my own experience they are often the deciding factor in a fight, either causing a clutch suppression effect which can allow one side to maneuver, or a critical hit which can instantly change the balance of the fight. (this makes them also a great GM tool for dialing up and down the difficulty of a fight on the fly -- simply adjust how much lead the NPCs are throwing downrange.)

Pushing rolls is the #1 advantage that PCs have in this game and should be used as often as possible. Sometimes even if you know it will result in a jam or other harm.

It's a little annoying that ammo dice are essentially completely divorced from both range and skill, but I've tried long and hard to make a house rule for this and never found anything that was very successful. Likewise with initiative. You can use CUF (and I do, for showdowns) but mostly I just use what makes narrative sense.

Hits from MGs and large-caliber weapons (even battle or sniper rifles) are positively frightening in this system, btw. You should steer well fucking clear of something like a 14.5mm! (again, this is a big feature and not a bug IMO!) -- although I find the RAW to do a disservice to squad MGs in general. RAW they have several drawbacks and few advantages. I've reduced the penalties and use optional RoF rules that give them a bit more distinction.

Despite some frustrations and a bit of a learning curve, I do still think it's a very good system for infantry combat. Adding in vehicles is a bit more clunky. I also appreciate that once you know the system reasonably well it becomes easy to run it without a grid or even a map at all.
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Old 02-19-2022, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcdusk View Post
Great write up.

what's your thoughts on how the map system worked Tegyrius? Did it help or hinder? Was it fiddly or sharpen game play?
Thank you!

For open-field combat, the 10m hex map worked well, with a couple of caveats. The first is that few RPGs operate on that scale, so multiple occupancy of a hex ("stacking") is not an intuitive option despite the rules explicitly allowing it. My reflex was to keep it at one Red NPC per hex, which was "realistic" in that the dispersion reduced the effectiveness of grenades and made me less inclined to have my Blue PCs use them.

The second caveat is that the current abstraction of indoor "terrain" can be crippling. The terrain chart on p. 57 applies a -2 movement modifier, meaning that any indoor movement requires a successful Mobility check. This kept Red 05 pinned in a bedroom for a few turns until he remembered how to use a door. I hope the Urban Operations supplement includes a more appropriate map scale for indoor fights (I'd argue for 2m) and has a rules patch for the issue of indoor movement at the 10m scale.

Having said that, my overall impression was favorable. I am particularly enamored of the cover mechanics, which imply facing without actually requiring a facing declaration with each move.

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I think you're mistaken regarding ammo dice -- in my own experience they are often the deciding factor in a fight, either causing a clutch suppression effect which can allow one side to maneuver, or a critical hit which can instantly change the balance of the fight. (this makes them also a great GM tool for dialing up and down the difficulty of a fight on the fly -- simply adjust how much lead the NPCs are throwing downrange.)

Pushing rolls is the #1 advantage that PCs have in this game and should be used as often as possible. Sometimes even if you know it will result in a jam or other harm.

It's a little annoying that ammo dice are essentially completely divorced from both range and skill, but I've tried long and hard to make a house rule for this and never found anything that was very successful. Likewise with initiative. You can use CUF (and I do, for showdowns) but mostly I just use what makes narrative sense.
I'll keep an eye on how ammo dice affect the fights in the future. I was unimpressed, but I am working from an admittedly small data set right now. They feel unreliable, and I like special abilities - particularly those requiring the expenditure of limited resources - to be more consistently effective.

Quote:
Hits from MGs and large-caliber weapons (even battle or sniper rifles) are positively frightening in this system, btw. You should steer well fucking clear of something like a 14.5mm! (again, this is a big feature and not a bug IMO!) -- although I find the RAW to do a disservice to squad MGs in general. RAW they have several drawbacks and few advantages. I've reduced the penalties and use optional RoF rules that give them a bit more distinction.
This fight didn't feature MGs (M4 + M16/M203 + M16 vs. 3 AKMs) but my reading of the rules has left me unimpressed with the benefit of using a light or medium MG. I'm wondering if a possible fix is to increase their ammo dice from d6s to d8s under aimed fire from a bipod/tripod/pintle - i.e., when they're being used as intended. That would make sustained belt-fed autofire more potentially lethal and suppressive, but I don't know if that would be unbalancing.

- C.
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Old 02-20-2022, 08:14 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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Great write-up, thanks! I'm looking forward to my first big fight as well.

I came across two issues, which I maybe don't understand correctly or look upon differently.

First, initiative is certainly differently from most systems one encounters. But I'd don't see it that way. The main thing to keep in mind is that successfully ambushing is very important, since that's where your skill comes truly into play. And I kind of agree with that. Once the bullets fly, you either act first by chance or by preparation. Succeeding with your ambush means, you automatically receive the number "1" card.

In addition to that, you can always change your initiative slots with any willing other combat participant, including NPCs.

And thirdly, there is always the excellent specialty Combat Awareness, allowing you to "draw two cards instead of one and choose which one to act on." Note, it doesn't say you have to discard one of those cards or return it to the pile, which I read as an enduring option to choose when to act in all combat rounds, since you only draw initiative once per combat. So for 10 XP, you can invest in your combat competence quite a lot.

The other thing I don't fully understand, why one of your OPFOR NPCs was stuck in a bedroom due to lack of "door operation skills". Page 59 tells us that doorways and doors, while counting as barriers, can be moved through as a fast action and without a mobility roll. Also, mobility rolls are only necessary, if you want to cross barriers (except doors and doorways, see above) or want to move further than your two regular hexes. So, unless a locked door is in your way, you move towards the door (fast action) and open it (fast action). Locked doors need to picked (Tech roll) or broken open (HP 5 for regular doors).

Or am I reading this wrong?
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Old 02-20-2022, 03:06 PM
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The other thing I don't fully understand, why one of your OPFOR NPCs was stuck in a bedroom due to lack of "door operation skills". Page 59 tells us that doorways and doors, while counting as barriers, can be moved through as a fast action and without a mobility roll. Also, mobility rolls are only necessary, if you want to cross barriers (except doors and doorways, see above) or want to move further than your two regular hexes. So, unless a locked door is in your way, you move towards the door (fast action) and open it (fast action). Locked doors need to picked (Tech roll) or broken open (HP 5 for regular doors).

Or am I reading this wrong?
I was reading the terrain rules on page 57 wrong. I was parsing the movement modifier as a penalty to hexes moved rather than a penalty to Mobility checks.

- C.
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Old 02-21-2022, 03:43 AM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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Tegyrius – that’s a good write up.

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• I'm definitely not a fan of the card draw initiative. It fails to take any degree of PC competence (or NPC competence) into account. This is definitely a candidate for a house rule, perhaps using Coolness Under Fire for something like Five Parsecs' Reaction-based initiative (if you succeed, you go before the NPCs; if you fail, you go after the NPCs), modified if you're facing green (+1) or elite (-1) NPCs.
I agree. The card draw initiative is too arbitrary and needs a homebrew replacement. I think that a PCs Coolness Under Fire stat is a good starting point but it needs to help dictate the order of actions between PCs as well so that the GM knows who to talk to when.

I think that it would also be good to include the Press/Hold mechanic from the T2013 rules, though that will require rolling initiative each round.

I’m not aware of the Fire Parsecs’ Reaction based initiative system. Does the “Seize the Initiative” section of this review explain it fully? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/268...cs-home-review

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• I was wondering whether a one-point difference in Range was enough to differentiate an M4 from an M16. The answer is yes, it's quite significant if your fight is occurring at 5 hexes.
The one point of difference in Range is not the only difference between an M4 and an M16. An M4 is a Carbine and an M16 is a Rifle and that has an impact on Aiming (see PM p63). Unless you aim an M16 suffers a -2 penalty for a quick shot but an M4 suffers a -1 penalty.

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• I'm undecided on the utility of ammo dice. A 1 in 6 chance of being effective feels rather underwhelming and they didn't generate a lot of benefit. However, a couple of times, they did generate an extra hit that resulted in one round getting past cover.
In my experience so far ammo dice can help increase the amount of damage inflicted and therefore increase the likelihood of a critical threshold being met. At present my players are usually using several ammo dice but I suspect that that will start to change as their ammo starts to run out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
For open-field combat, the 10m hex map worked well, with a couple of caveats. The first is that few RPGs operate on that scale, so multiple occupancy of a hex ("stacking") is not an intuitive option despite the rules explicitly allowing it. My reflex was to keep it at one Red NPC per hex, which was "realistic" in that the dispersion reduced the effectiveness of grenades and made me less inclined to have my Blue PCs use them.

The second caveat is that the current abstraction of indoor "terrain" can be crippling. The terrain chart on p. 57 applies a -2 movement modifier, meaning that any indoor movement requires a successful Mobility check. This kept Red 05 pinned in a bedroom for a few turns until he remembered how to use a door. I hope the Urban Operations supplement includes a more appropriate map scale for indoor fights (I'd argue for 2m) and has a rules patch for the issue of indoor movement at the 10m scale.
There is an optional rule to use maps without hexes (see PM p54 “Maps without Hexes” sidebar) and I’m running my game with a 2m square grid. This is partly driven from watching another online group have problems with the 10m hex system and a building.

If you want to see how a 2m square grid works, the 3rd session of my game features a combat at the start of the session. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYuLTrtqTp0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
This fight didn't feature MGs (M4 + M16/M203 + M16 vs. 3 AKMs) but my reading of the rules has left me unimpressed with the benefit of using a light or medium MG. I'm wondering if a possible fix is to increase their ammo dice from d6s to d8s under aimed fire from a bipod/tripod/pintle - i.e., when they're being used as intended. That would make sustained belt-fed autofire more potentially lethal and suppressive, but I don't know if that would be unbalancing.
This is an interesting idea, though it will make machine guns significantly more dangerous, which is the point. My concern is whether it goes too far or not.

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Originally Posted by Ursus Maior View Post
First, initiative is certainly differently from most systems one encounters. But I'd don't see it that way. The main thing to keep in mind is that successfully ambushing is very important, since that's where your skill comes truly into play. And I kind of agree with that. Once the bullets fly, you either act first by chance or by preparation. Succeeding with your ambush means, you automatically receive the number "1" card.
I just give a surprise round where relevant and then resolve initiative after that. Permanently giving the ambusher the first action in a round might be too much.

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Originally Posted by Ursus Maior View Post
In addition to that, you can always change your initiative slots with any willing other combat participant, including NPCs.
Just to be clear you have to be in communication with the other combat participant, though that can be across a radio.

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Originally Posted by Ursus Maior View Post
And thirdly, there is always the excellent specialty Combat Awareness, allowing you to "draw two cards instead of one and choose which one to act on." Note, it doesn't say you have to discard one of those cards or return it to the pile, which I read as an enduring option to choose when to act in all combat rounds, since you only draw initiative once per combat. So for 10 XP, you can invest in your combat competence quite a lot.
I don’t believe that the intention of Combat Awareness is to give you two actions. I read “choose” as which one you get to keep from the two cards and that you have to discard the other one. That’s up to you on how to implement as a GM though – your interpretation will prompt all PCs to eventually buy that specialty though as they would be mad not to!
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Old 02-21-2022, 03:14 PM
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Thank you!

For open-field combat, the 10m hex map worked well, with a couple of caveats. The first is that few RPGs operate on that scale, so multiple occupancy of a hex ("stacking") is not an intuitive option despite the rules explicitly allowing it. My reflex was to keep it at one Red NPC per hex, which was "realistic" in that the dispersion reduced the effectiveness of grenades and made me less inclined to have my Blue PCs use them.
I put most NPCs in buddy teams within a hex, and make communication challenging for those further than a hex or two away from each other (especially when things get loud). Want to whisper to someone? Yeah, not if they're 30 feet away, sorry.

But you're right that it's a mental block for some people coming from other games.


Quote:
I'll keep an eye on how ammo dice affect the fights in the future. I was unimpressed, but I am working from an admittedly small data set right now. They feel unreliable, and I like special abilities - particularly those requiring the expenditure of limited resources - to be more consistently effective.
I mean, they're statistically reliable -- they do something positive 16% of the time. Roll 6 of them with every attack and you're approximating a guaranteed success, all other factors being ignored.

I do wish more of the specialties in the book (such as machine gunner) were more qualitative rather than quantitative, but they didn't take this suggestion.

Quote:
This fight didn't feature MGs (M4 + M16/M203 + M16 vs. 3 AKMs) but my reading of the rules has left me unimpressed with the benefit of using a light or medium MG. I'm wondering if a possible fix is to increase their ammo dice from d6s to d8s under aimed fire from a bipod/tripod/pintle - i.e., when they're being used as intended. That would make sustained belt-fed autofire more potentially lethal and suppressive, but I don't know if that would be unbalancing.
Oh, I think it would definitely be unbalancing! You're turning that 16% chance into a 37% chance. This, plus the high ROF and high ammunition levels of most MGs is pretty guaranteed to cause critical hits (or failing that, definitely suppression) on every attack. Of course, give it a shot and see how it feels but my guess is that it makes even LMGs into instant-kill blasters.

Here's some other suggestions I've made for house rules:
- a deployed MG gets to re-roll any one ammo die. If you have the specialty, you can re-roll any two ammo dice. (I don't actually like anything that adds more rolls or especially re-rolls to something that happens often, like this, but it's an idea to play with)

- a deployed MG can assign hits or suppression not only within the target hex but to the adjacent hexes, if you choose

- a deployed MG creates negative modifiers to suppression checks whenever it inflicts them (I do like this, but it creates a chain of unbalancing other weapons... for instance shouldn't a 25mm autocannon now do the same thing? And so on)

- a deployed MG gets a wider overwatch area (I have already houseruled how overwatch works a bit in general, this can work on top of that or instead of it)

But, something I actually like is inspired by this pdf I snagged: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...-North-America

Which offers a number of optional rules and stats and devices, most of which are pretty well thought out and don't try to reinvent the wheel of the base system. One of them is the recoil limit (a number lower than full ROF), which gives penalties if you exceed it without firing from a braced position. A bipod gives you the ability to create a braced position rapidly anywhere, which is an easy solution to the issue! (frustratingly though -- for a $9 supplement -- it also says "MG rules will be published elsewhere").

It's also fairly easy to see how this stat could fit into other houserules that could bring a skill-based aspect back to recoil management.
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Old 02-27-2022, 06:03 PM
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I remember reading somewhere that rolling 3 ammo dice yielded optimal results (balancing for ammo expended per turn), but I can't remember the explanation given for that assessment. Anyone?

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Old 02-27-2022, 06:19 PM
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Unipus has opined that on the Free League forum but I can't find a post where he does the math. Hopefully, he'll wander in here and unpack it for us.

- C.
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Old 02-27-2022, 08:54 PM
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Ha. I have wandered, and all are saved! :P

Unfortunately I can't say it was part of an extensive study or anything, just that given a typical 30-round magazine and typical length of combat, 3 ammo dice seemed to be the answer most of my players came to independently for generating positive results without draining all of their ammo too quickly.

It's a 42% chance of increased damage or suppression for an average ammo cost of 10.5 rounds -- or every 3 attacks.
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Old 02-28-2022, 03:49 AM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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Unfortunately I can't say it was part of an extensive study or anything, just that given a typical 30-round magazine and typical length of combat, 3 ammo dice seemed to be the answer most of my players came to independently for generating positive results without draining all of their ammo too quickly.
My players have also generally settled on 3 ammo dice with an M4, M16 or AKM. Everyone still has a reasonable amount of ammo though so I don't know if that will change as ammo gets scarcer.
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Old 02-28-2022, 03:19 PM
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Yeah I mean the number goes up or down a bit depending on their level of supply, but assuming a typical situation against a typical danger at typical range, it's ROF 3 nine times out of ten.

ROF 3 also plays nice with the optional rules from the Service Rifles/MGs book, which I'm intent on implementing because they're all really well thought out and easy.
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Old 03-01-2022, 09:10 PM
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Default Is three 3, or 4?

Rolling 3 ammo dice is actually firing four rounds, no? (i.e. The base die counts as one round, and each ammo die counts as another?)

"Yo, Sarge! Something's wrong with my A2. It's set to three-round burst, but I swear it's spittin' out four at a time!"



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Old 03-01-2022, 09:46 PM
mpipes mpipes is offline
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Rolling 3 ammo dice is actually firing four rounds, no? (i.e. The base die counts as one round, and each ammo die counts as another?)

"Yo, Sarge! Something's wrong with my A2. It's set to three-round burst, but I swear it's spittin' out four at a time!"



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Which is just one of the reasons i do not like 4e. There are things that look good, but the combat system and ratings do not look good to me at all.
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Old 03-02-2022, 02:40 AM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Rolling 3 ammo dice is actually firing four rounds, no? (i.e. The base die counts as one round, and each ammo die counts as another?)

"Yo, Sarge! Something's wrong with my A2. It's set to three-round burst, but I swear it's spittin' out four at a time!"



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No, it's more than that. The total number rolled on your ammo dice is the number of rounds fired. Therefore if you rolled 6, 4 and 3 on your 3 ammo dice then that would be 13 rounds fired.

Each combat round is 5 to 10 seconds in length so the attack dice roll represents all of your character's shots over that period and the total of the ammo dice represents the number of rounds fired. That is the key game mechanics concept that you have to get your head around - one dice roll for attacking potentially represents your character firing their weapon multiple times in one combat round.

How those rounds have actually been fired (in terms of 3 round bursts, single shots, etc) is not relevant in the game system. Taking the example above it could be that 13 rounds is made up for four 3 round bursts plus a single shot or three 3 round bursts plus four single shots or thirteen rapid fired single shots or something else. That is just "description flavour" for the GM or player though - it's not relevant in the game system mechanics.

Please note as well that:

- If you use no ammo dice on an attack then you are firing a single shot that just uses 1 round.

- If you have less rounds in your mag than the ammo dice dictate you fired then you have just emptied the mag. I'm still getting my head around what happens if you've got only a few rounds left in your mag - I'm not sure if there is a restriction on the number of ammo dice that you can roll.

That's my understanding of the system. Whether people like it or not it as a concept is up to them but, in my experience so far, it works as a combat system.
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Old 03-02-2022, 08:12 AM
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Thanks for the clarification. To follow up on that, what does a weapon's ROF rating signify? How many ammo dice can be rolled?

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Old 03-02-2022, 08:19 AM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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No, it's more than that. The total number rolled on your ammo dice is the number of rounds fired. Therefore if you rolled 6, 4 and 3 on your 3 ammo dice then that would be 13 rounds fired.

Each combat round is 5 to 10 seconds in length so the attack dice roll represents all of your character's shots over that period and the total of the ammo dice represents the number of rounds fired. That is the key game mechanics concept that you have to get your head around - one dice roll for attacking potentially represents your character firing their weapon multiple times in one combat round.

How those rounds have actually been fired (in terms of 3 round bursts, single shots, etc) is not relevant in the game system. Taking the example above it could be that 13 rounds is made up for four 3 round bursts plus a single shot or three 3 round bursts plus four single shots or thirteen rapid fired single shots or something else. That is just "description flavour" for the GM or player though - it's not relevant in the game system mechanics.

Please note as well that:

- If you use no ammo dice on an attack then you are firing a single shot that just uses 1 round.

- If you have less rounds in your mag than the ammo dice dictate you fired then you have just emptied the mag. I'm still getting my head around what happens if you've got only a few rounds left in your mag - I'm not sure if there is a restriction on the number of ammo dice that you can roll.

That's my understanding of the system. Whether people like it or not it as a concept is up to them but, in my experience so far, it works as a combat system.
I have already decided that for each ammo die you allocate, you will spend but ONE ROUND OF AMMO... UNLESS you roll a 1on that die. On a roll of 1, TWO ROUNDS OF AMMO are expended.
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Old 03-02-2022, 08:23 AM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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Thanks for the clarification. To follow up on that, what does a weapon's ROF rating signify? How many ammo dice can be rolled?

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Correct. And without any real attempt at balance, which is good. Some weapons are just better than others.

You also get some interesting decisions as a player. Take the M16A1 vs. M16A2. The A1 gives you a ROF of 6 but a range of 5. The A2 gives you a ROF of 5 but a range of 6. All the other stats are the same so which is better? I'm not sure and I think that it comes down to personal preference as a player, which I like.
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Old 03-02-2022, 08:26 AM
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I have already decided that for each ammo die you allocate, you will spend but ONE ROUND OF AMMO... UNLESS you roll a 1on that die. On a roll of 1, TWO ROUNDS OF AMMO are expended.
You will end up with combats where very low amounts of ammo are being expended in each round and the entire battle. Remember that each round is 5 to 10 seconds long. Even with a ROF 6 weapon you would be expending a maximum of 12 rounds of ammo in a combat round (if I'm understanding your house rule correctly). That seems low to me.
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Old 03-02-2022, 09:05 AM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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You will end up with combats where very low amounts of ammo are being expended in each round and the entire battle. Remember that each round is 5 to 10 seconds long. Even with a ROF 6 weapon you would be expending a maximum of 12 rounds of ammo in a combat round (if I'm understanding your house rule correctly). That seems low to me.
I set the rounds at a flat 6 seconds. I allow multiple attacks at close range (I have begun to set my ranges in meters) but at longer ranges, 6 seconds only allows for a single attack (due to the time it takes to acquire the target and then aim at it). Each attack can select the number of ammo dice it wants to use. Keep in mind that a cyclic rate of 600 rounds per minute is 10 shots per second, so giving multiple attacks their own ROF isn't groundbreaking in the least.
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Old 03-02-2022, 09:58 AM
Mahatatain Mahatatain is offline
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I set the rounds at a flat 6 seconds. I allow multiple attacks at close range (I have begun to set my ranges in meters) but at longer ranges, 6 seconds only allows for a single attack (due to the time it takes to acquire the target and then aim at it). Each attack can select the number of ammo dice it wants to use. Keep in mind that a cyclic rate of 600 rounds per minute is 10 shots per second, so giving multiple attacks their own ROF isn't groundbreaking in the least.
Fair enough. You have quite a modified combat system there.
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Old 03-02-2022, 10:13 AM
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Fair enough. You have quite a modified combat system there.
You should see my Version 2.2 rules!
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Old 03-02-2022, 01:02 PM
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I'm not sure if there is a restriction on the number of ammo dice that you can roll.
There is: "You can add as many ammo dice to your attack as you like, from zero up to the rate of fire (RoF) rating of your weapon or the number of rounds left in
the magazine, whichever is lower."

(yes, this is exploitable, but has a fairly equal chance of not working out, and other drawbacks. If players are exploiting it routinely then they should be talked to and if they keep doing it, they should be punished!)

The ammo dice system isn't perfect but it does something no other system I've seen does: get rid of the myth of perfect control, and provides results that tell more of a story in each combat round. That alone is well worth it to me. I find most of the system's abstractions provide believable results and this is one of them.
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Old 03-02-2022, 01:05 PM
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I have already decided that for each ammo die you allocate, you will spend but ONE ROUND OF AMMO... UNLESS you roll a 1on that die. On a roll of 1, TWO ROUNDS OF AMMO are expended.
Wow, this is extremely deadly. Why wouldn't I always go max ROF at all times under this rule?

It also most definitely does not take me six seconds to engage a single enemy, especially at close range. Room clearing, for instance, I'd expect to engage 3-4 targets in that time, probably using half a mag even on semi-auto.

At long range, sure. I'm either aiming carefully, which takes significantly longer, or merely group firing to suppress.
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Old 03-02-2022, 09:33 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Wow, this is extremely deadly. Why wouldn't I always go max ROF at all times under this rule?

It also most definitely does not take me six seconds to engage a single enemy, especially at close range. Room clearing, for instance, I'd expect to engage 3-4 targets in that time, probably using half a mag even on semi-auto.

At long range, sure. I'm either aiming carefully, which takes significantly longer, or merely group firing to suppress.
Because RECOIL will kill your chances to hit. I'm already beginning to plan on how to integrate it into the system since Free League failed to do so. Recoil was V2 and V2.2's best idea in the automatic fire rules. It was just poorly executed.

Under real-world conditions where you have to ID potential threats, a typical soldier or police officer can fire ONE ROUND every half a second, timed electronically with my PACT timer. Target discrimination takes about one second. So in a typical CQB encounter, you will engage a target every 1.5 to 2 seconds IF you are traversing your weapon from target to target as you are looking for threats. This "detection time" goes up as the range increases. That is why Army marksmanship training on pop-up targets allows for...

- 6 seconds for a 75M target.
- 8 seconds for a 175m target.
- 10 seconds for a 300m target.

The detection time MUST be factored into the shooting time. You can assume that a MASTER Rifleman COULD engage these targets in half the time IF that person detects the target quickly enough.
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Old 03-03-2022, 06:37 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is offline
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Okay, wow, you're completely inflating the combat system of 4E and add stuff that plays zero role in 10 seconds rounds. Even in half the time, recoil is not as much of an issue as in a single attack, which maybe lasts 2-3 seconds. All rounds in 4E are assumed to have time (literally) for multiple attacks.

We should really not be discussing your house rules in the same thread as 4E combat, because the two have nothing left in common.
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Old 03-03-2022, 07:55 AM
leonpoi leonpoi is offline
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Because RECOIL will kill your chances to hit. I'm already beginning to plan on how to integrate it into the system since Free League failed to do so. Recoil was V2 and V2.2's best idea in the automatic fire rules. It was just poorly executed.

Under real-world conditions where you have to ID potential threats, a typical soldier or police officer can fire ONE ROUND every half a second, timed electronically with my PACT timer. Target discrimination takes about one second. So in a typical CQB encounter, you will engage a target every 1.5 to 2 seconds IF you are traversing your weapon from target to target as you are looking for threats. This "detection time" goes up as the range increases. That is why Army marksmanship training on pop-up targets allows for...

- 6 seconds for a 75M target.
- 8 seconds for a 175m target.
- 10 seconds for a 300m target.

The detection time MUST be factored into the shooting time. You can assume that a MASTER Rifleman COULD engage these targets in half the time IF that person detects the target quickly enough.
I reckon the aim action covers this. You get a large penalty to hit unless you aim. Once you’ve aimed you don’t lose this bonus until the circumstances have changed (you reload, are suppressed, target significantly moves)
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Old 03-03-2022, 12:23 PM
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It sounds like you have created an entirely new combat system, swaghauler! Which is cool, I'd be happy to read about it. Although as I've said, I think that FL's system provides more believable results than most I've seen if you look at things from the perspective of "what do most people do in real situations" rather than "what does an ideal person do in an ideal situation," which is how most games seem to approach things for some reason.

I am very curious what they will do with the supposedly-coming urban combat rules. The rules in general are fine but do lack granularity when it comes to room clearing and other situations where 10 seconds is actually quite a lot of time where quite a lot of people could act all at once.
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