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  #211  
Old 07-25-2023, 06:02 PM
Skunk Skunk is offline
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
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?
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This is the way I'd go, I haven't looked in the rules to support it but it matches the balancing scheme I remember. I would play it that if you only have a single dice the first +1 always adds in a second die.
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  #212  
Old 07-26-2023, 08:04 AM
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The "Modifiers" section on pages 45-46 has what you need, but it's obfuscated (see below):

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Sometimes, external factors help you to succeed. Such modifiers will step up one of your base dice to a better die, from a D6 to a D8 for example. Other times, something hampers your action. This will downstep one of your base dice. You can get modifiers to skill rolls in several different ways: specialties, the difficulty of the action itself, and help from others.

A +1 modifier means upgrading a base die one step, a +2 modifier means upgrading two steps, and so on. A –1 modifier means downgrading a base die one step, –2 means two steps down, and so on. Several modifiers can apply to the same roll, and they are cumulative. A +2 modifier and a –1 modifier add up to +1, for example.

When stepping up and down, always try to balance your dice as much as possible – i.e. step up a lower base die first, and downstep a higher base die. You can never go above two D12s, no matter what modifiers you have. To downstep past two D6s, remove one die. You can never go below one D6. If you lack a skill level and start with just a single base die, step up by adding a D6 (as one step up) and step it up further as needed.
Italicized and bolded for emphasis. The italicized paragraph is where the order of operations is scripted. The bolded sentence is the key to this scenario, and I'm particularly wroth with Free League over it because of what I consider a very poor layout choice here. They put that sentence by itself on the backside of page 45, so in both PDF and print versions, it's not visible on the same spread as the rest of this section.

- C.
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Last edited by Tegyrius; 07-28-2023 at 06:11 AM.
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  #213  
Old 07-28-2023, 12:52 AM
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Default NPC Skills (Or Lack Thereof)

Thanks, Teg. I thought I remembered seeing something like that. The seeming finality of the explanation on p.45 fooled me into not reading beyond it to the next page.

On a different topic, I think the Typical NPCs table on p. 37 of the Ref's Manual is a bit lacking. For example, my PCs have been running into enemy vehicle crews from time to time. The stat blocks from said table that would fit an enemy vehicle crewman are Soviet (or Polish) Soldier. That template lacks basic skills that even a rookie vehicle crew would have. A BTR gunner should have at least a modicum of Heavy Weapons skill but the standard stat block for Soviet Soldier (the closest thing on the list to a BTR gunner) doesn't even mention it.

If I stick to the rules, as written, I can only roll one base die for the NPC's relevant attribute. So, in the case of the hypothetical BTR gunner, he starts with only a d10 (for STR B) before adding or subtracting applicable modifiers. Enemy NPCs that only roll one die definitely give my PCs an advantage, so I'm not complaining too much. It does seem unrealistic and more than a tad unfair, though- I almost feel like I am cheating when I roll that single die for the bad guy.

I've played by the book (and it almost always works to my PCs' benefit). I've also experimented by simply adding a key skill that a trained, experienced soldier would have at level C. In the example of my hypothetical BTR gunner, that would mean adding a D8 for Heavy Weapons to the D10 die for STR attribute. Instead of adding a new skill, I've also just swapped out for a skill on the list (in this case, swapping Ranged Combat C for Heavy Weapons C). That feels more realistic, and fair, but it also puts enemy NPCs almost on par with PCs and I'm not sure I like that very much either. The PCs are, after all, the "stars of the show", and I've invested a lot more time and thought into them than I have some nameless OPFOR in a random combat encounter. I'm torn.

How do you (any of you) handle the somewhat vanilla, one-size-fits-all enemy NPCs of the base rules?

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Last edited by Raellus; 07-28-2023 at 11:19 AM.
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  #214  
Old 07-28-2023, 11:45 AM
Higgipedia Higgipedia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
How do you (any of you) handle the somewhat vanilla, one-size-fits-all enemy NPCs of the base rules?
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Mike Verkuilen's excellent Soldiers, Farms, and Refugees supplement in the Free League Workshop has really useful guidelines with four power levels. Each increase in power adds more attribute increases, skills, and specialties.

So you could have low-level foot infantry be CCDD with Ranged Combat C and Recon C. Vehicle crews might be CCDD with Heavy Weapons C, Ranged Combat D, and Drive D.

But his supplement is fantastic and is a must-buy in my opinion.
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  #215  
Old 07-28-2023, 05:03 PM
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I agree with your thoughts Raellus. I've been using the NPCs as per the book also.
  • The enemy in my game normally numerically outnumbers my good guys, so the NPCs having lower dice hasn't been as much of an issue.
  • I think initiative counts a lot. My PC normally has higher initiative, i use a home brew method though that includes the PC CUF, weapon type (pistol, SMG, LMG modifier) plus a die roll. Again, my PC normally gets first go, so another advantage to off set their numbers.
  • My early combat was two sides blasting at one another, over time more decision making has crept in which your game seems to already have - does a PC fire? Or take cover? If your NPC has higher stats which does feel more realistic, your PCs may also have to take cover more. Or take more snap shots (quick shot followed by taking cover).
  • The biggest advantage my PC has had, is normally my higher recon for example means i can pick and choose which encounter i engage or avoid. So NPC values may not even come into play.

It may not sound like i'm answering your question. But what i mean is, higher NPC stats does feel more realistic and it may also mean more PC life loss. But there are other decisions or factors that also impact PC life loss or saving.

I'm still struggling for balance.

Also, war isn't fair. My APC was driving down the road the other day, failed his recon roll, and suddenly the enemy had surprise and initiative and my APC is coming down the middle of the road. As a player what can i do? An APC driving down the road is normal, not a risky decision. Yet now the enemy had the drop, oh, and an RPG!!!

Perhaps what i'm saying is. If your PCs are in enough fire fights. Even against NPCs with low dice levels. Eventually, even in spite of good decision making, statistically your PCs will take some losses. Which is why in movies (saving private ryan, platoon, real life ...) when PCs last the full term of war/movie/enlistment and leave alive ........ it is such a relief.
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Last edited by kcdusk; 07-29-2023 at 11:57 AM.
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  #216  
Old 07-29-2023, 06:53 AM
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I think it's important to remember that the book NPCs are standard and representative of the most common opponents encountered - infantry. It's not saying "all orcs have these stats." For vehicle crews, my solution has been to give them Heavy Weapons and Driving equivalent to the printed Ranged Combat, then drop Ranged Combat by one step.

Something I've seen is that the most important enemy trait in determining relative threat is Coolness Under Fire. My players aren't afraid to establish belt-fed dominance early, and a suppressed NPC is one who isn't shooting back.

- C.
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  #217  
Old 07-29-2023, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcdusk View Post
Perhaps what i'm saying is. If your PCs are in enough fire fights. Even against NPCs with low dice levels. Eventually, even in spite of good decision making, statistically your PCs will take some losses. Which is why in movies (saving private ryan, platoon, real life ...) when PCs last the full term of war/movie/enlistment and leave alive ........ it is such a relief.
I agree, KC. Roll the dice enough times and, even with a couple of advantages, the odds are going to catch up and bite PCs. I recently found this out the hard way (see https://forum.juhlin.com/showthread....5391#post95391).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
I think it's important to remember that the book NPCs are standard and representative of the most common opponents encountered - infantry. It's not saying "all orcs have these stats." For vehicle crews, my solution has been to give them Heavy Weapons and Driving equivalent to the printed Ranged Combat, then drop Ranged Combat by one step.
That's more or less what I've been doing. I just wanted to see if that jibed with how other Ref's were approaching OPFOR NPCs. Great minds and all!

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Originally Posted by Higgipedia View Post
Mike Verkuilen's excellent Soldiers, Farms, and Refugees supplement in the Free League Workshop has really useful guidelines with four power levels. Each increase in power adds more attribute increases, skills, and specialties.
Thanks, Higgs. I'll check it out.

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https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook
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Last edited by Raellus; 07-29-2023 at 04:54 PM.
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  #218  
Old 09-01-2023, 11:07 PM
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Social conflict question.
Person A is trying to convince Person B of something, A outranks B.
Does person A get a +1 to convince them (I say yes).

Real question though, does Person B get a -1 to their own roll since they are outranked? If so, by outranking someone you get a +1 for your own roll and impact them with a -1 for their roll - ie you get two benefits. Is this right or does only one modifier apply?
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  #219  
Old 09-02-2023, 12:36 PM
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I'm pretty sure the modifiers are only applied to the PC's roll. I'm basing this on conclusion on this line in the Social Conflict rules, which precedes the modifier lists, both positive and negative, on p. 61 of the PM:

"Each of the following factors modifies your roll by..." (emphasis added)

It doesn't mention anything about applying modifiers to the opposing party's roll.

-
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https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...ula-Sourcebook
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...nia-Sourcebook
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