Squad Rules

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 12, 2013 - 1:49pm
To say that Star Frontiers does not or rather did not have rules for operating squads of soldiers is not completely true becuase in the module "Volturnus Planet of Mystery" sqauds of 10 each edestakai fan out during the storming of the pirate town. The rules for these squads were greatly abstracted; they simply accomplish their objectives off camera while the fights the PCs are involved in are worked out as per the AD rules.

Previously I had worked on a squad level and possible mass battle level for Star frontiers in the Ground Hawks project that I titled Battle Dawn but I was still very dialled into wargaming and had a strong wargaming bias influencing me.
http://www.starfrontiers.us/node/3249

Putraak bringing up Mercy Mission and possibly using Star Grunt rules to run some of the larger encounters naturally got me thinking. squad level rules for the RPG would be nice to handle things like Mercy Mission and  even some of the combats in the Volturnus campaign. It could lead to some war campaigns for stuff like Laco's War.

We should see about a community collaboration to develop a squad level rule adaption to the role playing game without perhaps so much of a wargaming bias. After all we all have all those counters and the 1/4 inch ruled maps so why not a set of adapted rules to treat  the counters as individual squads, vehicle counters are still individual and vehicles are treated as a squad. Each squad or vehicle will have a stat card for like those that were published in the SFman for KHs ships a while back.

I think that for stats we would possibly use the average RS of the squad members to react to things like the need to take cover when suddenly fired upon. IM would be determined by the leader of the squad, any morale issues would be rolled for against the leader's LDR stat. Possibly use a version of STA to determine the health of a squad but I was also thinking that the squad's character sheet might have check off boxes to mark members of the squad as casualties and out of the fight  much like you would mark off expended ammo from a KHs stat block. Two or three wound states: lightly wounded, heavily wounded, unconscious and killed the more casualties a squad takes the harder it is for the leader to motivate it. movement should be straight forward to factor in as a stat.

I'm leaning toward making LDR the most important stat- used for motivating the squad to do things and for firing 1/2 LDR score of its leader plus 10% of the squad's "level of quality" with squad levels going: 0 level is rabble/mob, level 1 is green, level 2 is trained, level 3 is veteran, and level 4 is elite

Could modify that to be full LDR score plus 10% per squad level quality and every wounded squad member becomes a -5% penalty for motivation and firing and every knocked out member is -10%, thus fresh squads are very capable and chewed up squads are harder to do something with.

special provisions might be added for squads lead by PCs or they can be treated like any other member of the squad for wounds and after the encounter if they have been knocked out there is a dice throw for their survival and or recovery.

I'm thinking that combat can be run like KHs combat with a damage table that tells you 1, 2,3,4, etc wounded. give each member of the squad a RS check for the wound to be no worse than a lightly wounded ie the dice randomly determine that member number 3 is hit and he is already heavily wounded but he gets a RS check and with a pass the new wound is simply another light wound and it does not change his heavily wounded status. squad member 2 is also hit and he currently has no wounds so he does the RS save to simply be lightly wounded otherwise he's heavily wounded.

a serious damage table result might also be test against leaders LDR or squad breaks and runs. If there is a PC leading the squad he does not have to run of course. If a leader goes down then the LDR score for the quality level of the squad is tested against to see if the squad breaks or if someone else in the squad takes over.

So the stats that are important are LDR, RS, Movement, and IM  and possibly there might be a rating for quality of equipment which might impact the saving throws to minimize wounds.

I'm curious for feed back and imput.









I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
April 12, 2013 - 2:10pm
Sounds like a good start.  The only think about the combat is that I don't think you want to go down to the individual member level on damage, just apply something to the squad as a whole, maybe the HP of the squad is the # of members and damage to the squad is number of members taken out of action.  And the damage might be modified based on the number of people in an attacking squad.  i.e. if a squad of 3 attacks a squad of 8, it's not going to do nearly as much damage (all other things being equal) as a squad of 8 people attacking another squad of 8.

I'd say start writing up rules and give specifics.  It's always much easier to discuss specific designs over general ideas.
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iggy's picture
iggy
April 12, 2013 - 2:15pm
I can imagine there could be some squad skills.  Actions that a squad can take because they have trained together that just any other group can not do impromptu.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 12, 2013 - 2:20pm
Perhaps screens and equipment are factored in on the damage table:

As in KHs certain weapons have a damage table modifier when a squad equipped with albedo screens being fired on by a squad with lasers gets a minus mofifer when rolling on the damage table, a squad with a hvy weapon like a machine gun, hvy laser or sonic devistator that is firing during this round of combat gets a positive damage table modifier.

Certain hvy weapons will negatively impact squad movement while others like rocket launchers will not but rocket launchers are limited ammo meaning you check them off when used and have to declare the intention to use them.

some other factors I beleive can be adapted from rule sets like Star Grunt- in that game making the call for artillery support (which is usually off table) requires the the chain of command to be mapped out, for example a plattoon with an attached mortar squad is rediculously easy for the plattoon commander to order a fire mission, its a little bit harder for a squad leader to order that mission as the attempt to order the mission is stepping over a link in the chain of command. if the artillery support was from the main batteries of an orbiting star cruiser there are several steps in the chain of command and this is not so easy plus you are dealing with two different branches of service which can jinx the order or delay it. I think adding modifiers to the LDR roll for ordering the mission like -10% per degree of separation in the chain of command and another -10% for different service will work and is essentailly an adaption of the star grunt rules. With perhaps an abastraction of what range "danger close" would be for space base (KHs) artillery when called against targets close to the squads calling it.

The med evac rules from Star grunt should be easily adaptable to this system too.

one of the star grunt conventions is a chart of turns (numbers boxes really) and a fire mission or a med evac will be put on this to represent the number of turns its out from arriving at the squads location

Med evac is important because leaving casualties behind on the field is seriously bad for morale in star grunt and in this above proposed system it can remove some of the penalties for motivating or firing with a squad that has had casualties.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 12, 2013 - 2:37pm
Alright I like the Hit points idea base on the # of members of a squad

I think that damage by a squad might be 1 point/ two members

keep the RS save for half

any critical failuer with the dice 95 or higher results in low ammo/damaged or jammed weapons which cuts damage by that suad in 1/2

I was thinking about skills for a squad- but not in the true AD sense of skills- simple designations like:
airbourne, artillery spotter, combat engineer, medic, air defender etc
these would be simpler modifiers like artillery spotter has a bonus to rolls to call in artillery support and the artillery fire mission arrives sooner, sniper would have a benefit of no RS save for half againt the damage done by the hit from the sniper and his spotter,
Stuff along those lines for the skills that have impact on the combat, no squad below trained can have one of these skills and only elite might have two of them.
Might also have racial benefits for a squad that is a single race- yazirians might get a bonus for hand to hand combat, vrusk are not negatively impacted on morale for leaving casualties dead on the field
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 12, 2013 - 5:44pm
Bravo Company
STR: 55
MS: 80
TEC: 60
Laser weapons (4)
Gyrojet weapons (4)
Fragmentation grenades (16)


Use the STR roll on a table to interpret the damage to the opposing team's MS (Members Score = members x 10) and TEC (Technological level x 10). MS is the team's offensive effectiveness and STA, and TEC is the team's tech effectiveness, accessing computers and breeching security.

Use the weapon number (in parentheses; equal to the number of members with that weapon) to determine their offensive effectiveness with that particular weapon.

Terrain and cover can affect a team's STR score or damage.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
April 12, 2013 - 10:50pm
I use the same system I devised for D&D --- take the average to hit roll of a group and apply that to how many enemies are hit and the average damage is applied to those hit. If I want to speed things up, I ignore damage and simply rule that percentage of hit targets are slain. So if a group of ten edestekai with an average to hit roll being 40% are fighting a group or 12 pirates with an average to hit score of 50%, each round they fight 40% of the pirates take damage (or die) and 50% of the edestekai are hit (or die)...rounding fractions up.

Granted that only applies to NPC combat, PC fights are resolved with normal rules.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 14, 2013 - 1:21pm
The problem I see with that (Please don't be offended at my identifying it,) is that no matter what the number of members on one side or the other, the percentage is always the average. Meaning, (using an extreme example,) if you have 100 Yazirians with 40% and 5 Sathar with 65%, the 5 Sathar are likely to devestate the 100 Yazirians. If the Yazirians hit, the Sathar lose only 2 members, but if the Sathar hit, the Yazirians lose 65 members. Granted, due to sheer numbers, the Yazirians are still likely to win, but not without obscene losses.

View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
April 13, 2013 - 12:05pm
Yeah I should have stated that it applies to similar sized forces. Day three of another thirteen day work week and all that. 
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Karxan's picture
Karxan
April 16, 2013 - 11:46pm
I used to play OGRE and the infantry are used as squads. Each hit would reduce the strength and defense of the infantry. I had thought before that a Star Frontiers version of the game would be fun and quick. Like Jedion said, there are already those great counters. 

 

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 17, 2013 - 1:18am
To address the 100 yazirians issues, various games deal with it in various ways- since star grunt is first and formost a table top wargame based on miniatures (minitatures is what GZG does) there are rules for squad size and space of miniatures and you would never play with a 100 man squad but rather do 10 10 man squads.

I think a squad should be 6-10 or possibly 12, with lower tech natives or simply a mob like a lynch mob you go larger number of members.

I also think factoring in morale is important- whether a squad will activate and do what you want, whether its members will skeedaddle due to casualties and heavy fire etc. So if a squad had taked several hits it may become entrenched in its position with the members not wishing to poke their heads out of their fox holes.

I also like Star Grunts "last stand rule" and think something similar is in order too.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 17, 2013 - 9:31am
The lesser number pinning down the higher number, I don't think is the best answer. Having a static effect upon the squad's health and effectiveness seems the best solution. Though I do like the morale mechanic.

Though I've gotten in a lot of trouble lately for debating anything at all on another forum. So that's all I'll say on it.
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 17, 2013 - 2:37pm
Ascent wrote:
Though I've gotten in a lot of trouble lately for debating anything at all on another forum. So that's all I'll say on it.


Huh what? Clearly this is the best community in the net so why would you let events that happen on a lesser forum impact your activity on this forum? We debate here, sometimes vigorously, but for the most part we are all big boys and there are rellatively few problems on these forums. I'm just not understanding your comment.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 17, 2013 - 3:39pm
I agree. But I have a history of people tending to fire up at me (by that, I mean, go ape-s**t crazy) no matter how congenial I am, even here. (Some have commented that they don't understand why that happens to me. Even the ones doing it will often say they have no idea why they get riled at me.) You can debate. I simply won't.

That said, back to the subject: Squad rules.
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)

AtomikDyce's picture
AtomikDyce
January 2, 2014 - 10:01am
I was just thinking about squad combat for grand scale encounters/battles. Look forward to diving into your work for great insight.

AtomikDyce's picture
AtomikDyce
January 2, 2014 - 11:25am
One area I haven't been able to nail down is the issue of strong characters and/or high-powered tech. For example, a squad strength of 100 poorly armed grunts could have a heavily armed character in their midst, along with a heavy weapon (modified heavy laser or rocket launcher). I'm still not sure how to incorporate such occurences in a squad battle.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 2, 2014 - 1:58pm
AtomikDyce wrote:
One area I haven't been able to nail down is the issue of strong characters and/or high-powered tech. For example, a squad strength of 100 poorly armed grunts could have a heavily armed character in their midst, along with a heavy weapon (modified heavy laser or rocket launcher). I'm still not sure how to incorporate such occurences in a squad battle.


Well I wouldnt have squads of 100 thats just too much instead it would be 10 squads of 10 and in that situation it would be 9 squads of poorly armed grunts  and one squad where it got a quality bump from the presence of a better skilled/better armed leader.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

AtomikDyce's picture
AtomikDyce
January 2, 2014 - 6:40pm
I've always been partial to the Battle of Volturnus styled squad battles; trying to recurse to the smallest units while maintaining the ratio and balance of troop strengths. For example, if 50 soldiers were battling 40 soldiers of equal strength and armament, you could run the battle with 5 counters versus 4 counters on a scaled map. Each counter would represent the average strength of that contingent of soldiers, yet function as a single person/robot.