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Old 09-27-2012, 10:54 AM   #41
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Ruleswise, that gets a little hairy...regular attacks presumably count as being under fire for the will roll rule, but if you don't use Suppression Fire or explosives and don't either hit or miss by 2 or less, it doesn't trigger a Fright Check from Cool Under Fire.
My point is that if you're being attacked by fully-automatic fire (at 6+ RoF), you are being "suppressed," whether or not the attacker intends to suppress you (FREX, if he's actually trying to kill you); should also apply if 6+ single-fire weapons are fired at you. "Suppression" is a side-effect of lots of bullets flying in your direction; whether the attacker is trying to kill or scare you is irrelevant. That is just my opinion, though—FWIW.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:44 PM   #42
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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Originally Posted by Gigermann View Post
My point is that if you're being attacked by fully-automatic fire (at 6+ RoF), you are being "suppressed," whether or not the attacker intends to suppress you (FREX, if he's actually trying to kill you); should also apply if 6+ single-fire weapons are fired at you. "Suppression" is a side-effect of lots of bullets flying in your direction; whether the attacker is trying to kill or scare you is irrelevant. That is just my opinion, though—FWIW.
I imagine the logic of demanding a near miss is that a not-near miss doesn't necessarily come near you, and where the shooter wanted the bullets to go is of little importance from a down-range perspective.

Though, logically, if one allows suppression to be directed without a roll there's really no way someone would miss by more than that with a roll, is there?
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:40 PM   #43
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Ruleswise, that gets a little hairy...regular attacks presumably count as being under fire for the will roll rule, but if you don't use Suppression Fire or explosives and don't either hit or miss by 2 or less, it doesn't trigger a Fright Check from Cool Under Fire.
The general rule is that the GM can call for a Fright Check whenever he wants.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:11 PM   #44
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
The general rule is that the GM can call for a Fright Check whenever he wants.
And yet the specific Cool Under Fire rule is incredibly valuable, because it actually gives some idea of when they should.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:22 PM   #45
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
And yet the specific Cool Under Fire rule is incredibly valuable, because it actually gives some idea of when they should.
Sure, but I wrote the original version of that rule and my intent, at least (I don't presume to speak for HANS or Kromm or anything), was not to proscribe the only situations that Fright Checks are appropriate in a firefight. The GM can easily justify a fright check from receiving heavy fire, even if it doesn't hit anybody, it's not a "near miss" by the rules and it wasn't deliberate suppression. That's his call to make.

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Old 09-27-2012, 04:24 PM   #46
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

The thing about suppression fire is that in the real world people are (a) poor at estimating the real risk of low probability occurrences, and (b) significantly more risk averse than PCs, as getting shot is considerably worse than losing a favorite RPG character. Neither effect is particularly easy to represent in an RPG.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:36 PM   #47
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

From the snipers' perspective, even if they were not hit this turn, they should expect the fire will continue, which should make them not want to stay exposed. Unless they are steely nerved and/or suicidal, that would tend to discourage aimed fire.

On the other hand, as others pointed out, suppression fire is usually inferior to point fire if you have the choice. It's more useful as a ranged zone of control, or sort of an alternate to Wait that advertises itself more openly.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:09 PM   #48
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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I think that GURPS, focused as it is on "exceptional" individuals, does a relatively poor job of capturing the ordinary. Realistically, suppressing fire is so effective that it is mostly limited by the need to conserve ammunition - absent that (or special tactical circumstances), why not hose down an area constantly? Suppressing fire essentially transforms every peek around cover into a slightly less dangerous version of charging a machinegun nest! To capture this, I would give some level of Cowardice and/or Fearfulness for nearly all civilians and most ordinary soldiers.
I didn't really see this when I playtested it and I'm not really sure why you think this is the case.

Say we have an assault on a static defense of the normal sort of light entrenchments. A heavy MG is providing support from an overlooking support by fire position. The defenders are "professional" infantry with an average Will-based Soldier skill of 12. So they are coming under a rate of fire of 8. They have to make Will-2 rolls to expose themselves to fire at all which they only have a 50% chance of making. If they make the roll, they need to roll a fright check at 12 (+5-1)=16, but the Rule of 14 applies so they actually have 9.3% chance of failure. If any of them do fail, and are stunned the MG team can easily direct fire at them while they are exposed, which will almost certainly messily kill them, triggering a fright check at -5 or more from their comrades.

Of course we aren't idiots, so we didn't start the assault with the MG supporting fire, but rather the MG is usually in the second or third SBF phase, when the assualt element is almost in position. The first phases were air (possibly), arty(possibly) and mortars (always). So these guys have already had to make a bunch of Fright Checks already. They've been deafened. They may have had to deal with fires and chunks of RP. They may have suffered casualties.

Any of them that did fail Fright Checks are Panicked while they are suffering the effects and therefore don't get the +5 from heat of battle for Fright Checks (Tactical Shooting page 34). Which means that (since the MG support will start as soon as the mortars stop) some of those guys are going to have Fright Checks of 11 or worse!

One thing that maybe should be there, but isn't, but is the sort of thing that GMs can exercise judgement on is that panic is contagious. People failing Fright Checks might trigger Fright Checks in their comrades.

Lastly, remember that our assault element is going to be bounding up themselves and will start their own supporting fires as soon as they make contact. All they need to do is keep the enemy from effectively responding until they reach the position and can directly assault it by fire and maneuver.

Oorah? :)

Last edited by sir_pudding; 09-27-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:27 PM   #49
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The thing about suppression fire is that in the real world people are (a) poor at estimating the real risk of low probability occurrences, and (b) significantly more risk averse than PCs, as getting shot is considerably worse than losing a favorite RPG character. Neither effect is particularly easy to represent in an RPG.
Will checks* (or Will-based rolls against appropriate skills) that must be passed to perform certain acts or take certain risks, with penalties to reflect the severity of the psychological aversion.

I understand intellectually, because it has been explained to me many times, that some roleplayers apparently rebel against the idea that mental obstacles should require a roll to overcome in the same way as physical obstacles. But it is not something I have ever come across myself. To the contrary, players seem to treasure the memory of PC heroism far more when they have had to succeed in a Will check that most lesser men would have failed before they could run into (almost) certain death to save their comrades.

A game mechanic to represent courage and determination drives home the reality** of the threats that their characters face and enhances roleplaying by encouraging players to think about the mental state of their character when facing various threats. In gritty and cynical games, it can be a great chance for dramatic roleplaying to have a PC fail at something, not because he wasn't strong or dextrous enough, but because his nerve failed at a crucial moment. It's a powerful meme in fiction and it can work well in roleplaying as well.

But this isn't just a 'downer' rule, serving to make PCs less heroic. It can also provide moments of triuumph, with fist-bumbs and bro-hugs galore. At times of extreme stress and danger, when all the NPCs with more or less normal Will are too scared (or rationally cautious) to act decisively, that's when a PC with a hero-grade Will and all the right traits for heroic action can shine. The contrast with other characters who lack these traits serves emphises the courage and specialness of the heroes.

It all depends on the power level of the campaign and whether or not the players indicated a preference for personal heroism and the courage of their convictions on the behalf of their PC, through the mechanism of the character creation system. If they want to have nerves of steel, there are traits for that. If they fail a crucial Will roll that they want to have passed, there are mechanisms for that too. They can use Luck to re-roll or even use a CP to change the outcome of the roll.

I don't see any difference between requiring a roll to lift the heavy grate to escape and requiring one to raise their heads from cover during a firefight. Both are tasks that not all people can perform and the outcome is determined, in RPGs, by rolling dice and comparing the results with the relevant traits.

*Modified, obviously, in much the same way as Fright Checks and Extra Effort checks, so that Advantages and Disadvantages relevant to the situation add or subtract from it. Thus, someone with a Sense of Duty (Comrades), Selfless and/or a Code of Honour that stresses loyalty is more likely to transcend normal human limitations in the course of serving others.
**From the perspective of the fictional character, they are real. Damn this tool for telling other apes the location of tasty fruit! It's been patched so often that it's no longer recognisable as the same thing, but it's still running on a very idiosyncratic engine and it's seriously showing it when we discuss the real reality of fictional fiction.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:32 PM   #50
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Default Re: What use is Suppression Fire?

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I didn't really see this when I playtested it
Playtested what? He wasn't talking about Tactical Shooting.
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