Tactics Question.

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Marachai
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Tactics Question.

Postby Marachai » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:53 pm

I've only recently downloaded and started to work my way through the playtest rules with my group. I must say on the whole we are pretty excited to get back to playing Traveller.

One thing though which I wanted to check I understood correctly as it has come up a few times with the combat testing we have done, is the rules behind the skill Tactics. I was hoping someone might confirm I am using them as intended.

I have 2 players who are helping me with the testing, and during character creation, one of the players aquired Tactics of 3. Now, if I understand this correctly, during combat when setting initiative each round, the lowest they can be is 3 ? (Assuming they are in contact with each other and the player with tactics is aware of the situation).

There doesn't seem to be any role required, its just something that is ?

Any help, and understand you can grant me would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Mara.
SableWyvern
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Postby SableWyvern » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:38 pm

Effectively, as long as they are in communication with the PC with Tactics 3, all Timing rolls of one or two will count as three.

However, keep in mind that initiative penalties for recoil and hasty actions are applied after this, so they can still end up with final values that are less than three. Additionally, they can spend ticks on movement, dodging etc... to reduce their initiative below the tactics level.
Marachai
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Postby Marachai » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:34 pm

Thanks for the reply and information :)

Mara.
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Postby -Daniel- » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:05 pm

One more question to make sure I understand it. The person with the Tactics does NOT have to be the leader, correct?

Daniel
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:30 pm

That is my understanding as well. BUT, only one person can use their Tactics skill per group.

So if the Tactics-3 guy is not the leader, then the leader cannot use his Tactics skill unless he is not in communications with your guy.

Seems obvious, but I wanted to make sure.
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Postby -Daniel- » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:40 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:That is my understanding as well. BUT, only one person can use their Tactics skill per group.

So if the Tactics-3 guy is not the leader, then the leader cannot use his Tactics skill unless he is not in communications with your guy.

Seems obvious, but I wanted to make sure.
Makes sense. But the group uses the higher of the skills? My Leader has Tactics-1 and the gunner has Tactics-3. We use the three? Or does the fact the leader is the leader over ride the gunner?

Daniel
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Postby pasuuli » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:25 pm

dafrca wrote:
Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:That is my understanding as well. BUT, only one person can use their Tactics skill per group.

So if the Tactics-3 guy is not the leader, then the leader cannot use his Tactics skill unless he is not in communications with your guy.

Seems obvious, but I wanted to make sure.
Makes sense. But the group uses the higher of the skills? My Leader has Tactics-1 and the gunner has Tactics-3. We use the three? Or does the fact the leader is the leader over ride the gunner?

Daniel
Sounds like they can use the highest skill that the leader is in communication with.
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Postby -Daniel- » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:05 am

pasuuli wrote:
dafrca wrote:
Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:That is my understanding as well. BUT, only one person can use their Tactics skill per group.

So if the Tactics-3 guy is not the leader, then the leader cannot use his Tactics skill unless he is not in communications with your guy.

Seems obvious, but I wanted to make sure.
Makes sense. But the group uses the higher of the skills? My Leader has Tactics-1 and the gunner has Tactics-3. We use the three? Or does the fact the leader is the leader over ride the gunner?

Daniel
Sounds like they can use the highest skill that the leader is in communication with.
That is what I was thinking, but just wanted to make sure.

Daniel
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Postby pasuuli » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:18 am

dafrca wrote:
pasuuli wrote:
Sounds like they can use the highest skill that the leader is in communication with.
That is what I was thinking, but just wanted to make sure.

Daniel
Seems reasonable, doesn't it? If the leader can't talk to the guy with the skill, then he can't apply that skill to the group. Yes, that makes sense.
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Postby Marachai » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:55 am

One thing I was curious about was, the use of Tactics 1. Not 100% sure I am correct, but isnt 1 as low as you can go when setting initiative .. meaning a 1 tactics wouldnt do anything ? Or am I missing something.

Mara
SableWyvern
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Postby SableWyvern » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:39 am

That is correct - Tactics-1 does not aid initiative.

As the the discussion of a squad leader relying on the tactics skill of a subordinate, I'm a bit leery of that. From a meta-game perspective, it makes sense, but given that the use of tactics to aid initiative represents a rapid, ongoing reaction to developments on the battlefield, it damages my sense of versimilitude.

I find it hard to believe that you could lead effectively at section or platoon level if you were relying on the constant guidance of a subordinate in the midst of a firefight.
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Postby -Daniel- » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:55 am

SableWyvern wrote: I find it hard to believe that you could lead effectively at section or platoon level if you were relying on the constant guidance of a subordinate in the midst of a firefight.
So a new Lieutenant in the field would not rely on his Platoon Sergeant for guidance on a regular basis until he had more experience? Not to be argumentative, but it does not seem so far fetched to me.

Of course it is not my rules, so it is as the power to be say it is. But pray they spell it out clearly in the rules either way so that the way they want it is clear to everyone.

Thanks

Daniel
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Postby Mongoose Pete » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:18 pm

dafrca wrote:So a new Lieutenant in the field would not rely on his Platoon Sergeant for guidance on a regular basis until he had more experience? Not to be argumentative, but it does not seem so far fetched to me.
More likely what would happen is that the Lieutenant would ask for tactical advice before an engagement. Once fighting breaks out, the Lieutenant will likely assign a fire squad to his Sergeant and give him an objective. Those troops under the Sergeant will use the Sergeant's Tactics skill. Those remaining under the Lieutenant will use his.

In a firefight situation you don't have time to ask advice every five or ten seconds. More importantly, the apparent competence of the commanding officer would be questioned, undermining his authority... and certainly buggering up his men's effectiveness.
Nice to get a reminder that these rules were written assuming a quite different sort of campaign from the munchkin "It's in the rules so you have to let me do it, look at me buffing my character I'm going to go kill now arrgrgrgrh" approach. -dbhoward
SableWyvern
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Postby SableWyvern » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:19 pm

Yeah, basically what Pete Nash said.

I could see the platoon sergeant's tactics skill coming into play if one or more sections were engaged, while the PHQ was not (allowing the platoon commander and sergeant to confer and issue orders/tactical updates, while the section commanders are actually running the show at the sharp end). In this case, the tactics bonus is representing the effect of higher level coordination.

If, however, a tactics bonus is being employed by someone issuing orders at the coal-face, it has to be his own skill and knowledge that is being utilised.

Assuming the local commander allows his troops some autonomy to use their own initiative, I would allow someone with a higher tactics skill than their commander to gain a bonus from their own skill (if I was being harsh, I might apply a -1 in this case), but I wouldn't allow it to be used across the entire group.
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:14 pm

I think things are still OK though. Once the fire fight starts, you could make an argument that the squads are not in continuous communications and each squad has it's own Tactics bonus.

Also, there are situations where a subordinate will take over the tactical operation in the heat of battle when the superior is not performing or "Freezing" It can get you Court-Marshalled, or get you a medal or both, but it does happen. Sure, the superior is no longer seen as the leader, but that is a roleplaying issue after the fight.

If the Lieutenant stands there dumbfounded and the Sargeant yells commands to everyone to drop, move squads around to provide flanking fire and generally takes over, the people will follow the Sargeant at that time. LATER, the Sergeant and the Lieutenant will have words.
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SableWyvern
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Postby SableWyvern » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:42 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:I think things are still OK though. Once the fire fight starts, you could make an argument that the squads are not in continuous communications and each squad has it's own Tactics bonus.
As implied above, I agree with this implementation. I have no issues with section commanders, or subsection group/fireteam leaders applying their tactics bonuses to their subordinates. Or any equivalent within a rag-tag PC group.

What I object to is a nominal leader using a subordinate's tactics skill and applying it his other subordinates, without then dealing with the fact that the nominal leader has given up command (or had it taken from him).

Or to be clear, I object to it in my own games, and lean towards disallowing it officially. As an option or houserule, I've got no problems with a leader "borrrowing" someone else's tactics skill.
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:25 pm

What about the following situation.

The Platoon Leader (a green Lieutenant) and his Senior Sargeant (with Tactics-2) are in the Command Squad of a 5 squad Platoon.

As the Platoon deploys and gets into the fire fight, the Sargeant makes suggestions to the Platoon Leader for his use in tactically deploying his squads. The Platoon Leader is the one giving the commands to the squads, but the Sargeant's Tactics skill is what is actually being used.

Given HUD and radios with private channels, it should be possible for a subordinate to pass his/her Tactics skill through a superior and back down. BUT, he needs to have real-time knowledge of the entire situation. If the Sargeant is stuck with one of the squads, it will be much tougher to justify passing his Tactics skill to a squad on the other side of the fight, maybe even out of sight.
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Postby B_Steele » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:31 pm

Given HUD and radios with private channels, it should be possible for a subordinate to pass his/her Tactics skill through a superior and back down. BUT, he needs to have real-time knowledge of the entire situation. If the Sargeant is stuck with one of the squads, it will be much tougher to justify passing his Tactics skill to a squad on the other side of the fight, maybe even out of sight.
There are pieces of equipment in the new Mercenary book that cover this specifically. :)
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Postby SableWyvern » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:47 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:What about the following situation.

The Platoon Leader (a green Lieutenant) and his Senior Sargeant (with Tactics-2) are in the Command Squad of a 5 squad Platoon.

As the Platoon deploys and gets into the fire fight, the Sargeant makes suggestions to the Platoon Leader for his use in tactically deploying his squads. The Platoon Leader is the one giving the commands to the squads, but the Sargeant's Tactics skill is what is actually being used.

Given HUD and radios with private channels, it should be possible for a subordinate to pass his/her Tactics skill through a superior and back down. BUT, he needs to have real-time knowledge of the entire situation. If the Sargeant is stuck with one of the squads, it will be much tougher to justify passing his Tactics skill to a squad on the other side of the fight, maybe even out of sight.
If the sarge and platoon commander aren't actually in the fight, that works fine for me. If they are, I just can't see the sergeant being able to constantly advise the platoon commander, nor the platoon commander being able to spend time assessing his sergeant's advice before giving orders. Depending on the tactical situation, there may be lulls in the fighting where a brief discussion can be held, but for the most part you need to be constantly on top of things and reacting as quickly as possible to changing conditions.

Assuming the situation isn't so bad he needs to take control, most platoon sergeants would rather see their lieutenants take the second or third best course of action swiftly and aggressively, than they would see them waiting on advice and encouragemnt.
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Postby AKAramis » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:25 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:I think things are still OK though. Once the fire fight starts, you could make an argument that the squads are not in continuous communications and each squad has it's own Tactics bonus.

Also, there are situations where a subordinate will take over the tactical operation in the heat of battle when the superior is not performing or "Freezing" It can get you Court-Marshalled, or get you a medal or both, but it does happen. Sure, the superior is no longer seen as the leader, but that is a roleplaying issue after the fight.

If the Lieutenant stands there dumbfounded and the Sargeant yells commands to everyone to drop, move squads around to provide flanking fire and generally takes over, the people will follow the Sargeant at that time. LATER, the Sergeant and the Lieutenant will have words.
sometimes they will be similar to the Following:

LT: Sergeant, My tent.
...
Sgt: Sir?
LT: Good job there. Thanks. But can we wait to advance 'til I give the go next time?
Sgt.: Yes, sir.

But it depends upon the officer, the NCO, and the higher command's awareness, too.
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