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Old 10-05-2018, 04:55 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Utility of a Master Tactician

So, I was wondering what would be the utility of a master tactician (IQ 14, Combat Reflexes, and Tactics-24) in your games? In Basic, Tactics allows a leader to place troops correctly to maximize their effectiveness, to outmaneuver enemy units, to start in an advantageous position during personal combat, to use Tactics instead of Perception for the purposes of spotting ambushes, and gives a bonus in Partial Surprise situations. In Martial Arts, Tactics may instead grant a pool of rerolls to the leaders that they can give their allies or allow them to change ally/enemy placement after the initial placement. In Tactical Shooting, Tactics grants positioning bonuses and allows for the assessment of battle situations.

In my mind, a master tactician could be vitally important because they could negate any advantages of their opponents. Imagine a situation where you have medieval samurai versus modern infantry. If the medieval samurai have a master tactician on their side, they could start combat within reach and behind the modern infantry, allowing them to surprise and slaughter the enemy before they can even respond, despite suffering a horrible technological disadvantage.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:16 PM   #2
Purple Haze
 
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

No amount of tactics will get samurai "behind and in reach" of modern infantry. Nothing short of teleportation would do that.

A master tactician's plan would be something like: discard all the armour and clothing, retrain as ninjas, assassinate a few sentries to get modern weapons, learn how to use them, spring a real ambush on a small patrol to get more modern weapons...
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Old 10-05-2018, 07:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Haze View Post
No amount of tactics will get samurai "behind and in reach" of modern infantry. Nothing short of teleportation would do that.
However, in close country "beside and within leaping/charging range" is doable.
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:31 PM   #4
Purple Haze
 
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

No such terrain exists. There is always a point guard, flank security, and a rear guard. You can get within sword range of less than a handful of men, then you get shredded by automatic weapon fire. We have this down to a science, you can probably find the US Army textbooks on-line.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

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Originally Posted by Purple Haze View Post
No such terrain exists.
Not true. If you can't afford to use your automatic weapons (for fear of harming civilians, say) or the range is too short to allow standoff and dispersal (in tunnels or a dense labyrinth, say), it might be doable.

A Master Tactician (as described) would allow his swordsmen to begin the engagement from inside the squad formation and with the advantage of surprise -- probably because he concealed them well enough for the squad to pass over and around them, unseen. Not very likely, granted, but certainly possible -- it happens with depressing frequency in jungle warfare -- and we are talking about the ultimate expression of the skill, after all.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:55 AM   #6
Andreas
 
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

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Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Not true. If you can't afford to use your automatic weapons (for fear of harming civilians, say) or the range is too short to allow standoff and dispersal (in tunnels or a dense labyrinth, say), it might be doable.

A Master Tactician (as described) would allow his swordsmen to begin the engagement from inside the squad formation and with the advantage of surprise -- probably because he concealed them well enough for the squad to pass over and around them, unseen. Not very likely, granted, but certainly possible -- it happens with depressing frequency in jungle warfare -- and we are talking about the ultimate expression of the skill, after all.
Well, that depends on the modern infantry choosing to enter such disadvantageous areas.

Pulling that of reliably would require much more than Tactics skill (at least for humanly possible levels of Tactics). Other skills and/or favorable circumstances would be required as well.

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
That means you're pitting the US Army-trained soldier's Tactics skill against the samurai's skill 24. And with skill 24, there's a good chance that the samurai has read the book or analysed his opponents' application of it and found a weak spot or two. For that matter, is every soldier in the unit fully familiar with these textbooks, and familiar with what they say about the particular position the samurai might try to engage them in? For example, is there a version of the 21-foot rule for katana vs M16? Not to mention, samurai had access to a wider range of weapons than just katana.
Someone with such high skill might very well be able to find flaws in such books, but that is not enough. It having flaws serious enough for the samurai to defeat modern infantry existing isn't very plausible (at least not in all but the most favorable of circumstances, such as those mentioned in the post I responded to above).
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Haze View Post
We have this down to a science, you can probably find the US Army textbooks on-line.
That means you're pitting the US Army-trained soldier's Tactics skill against the samurai's skill 24. And with skill 24, there's a good chance that the samurai has read the book or analysed his opponents' application of it and found a weak spot or two. For that matter, is every soldier in the unit fully familiar with these textbooks, and familiar with what they say about the particular position the samurai might try to engage them in? For example, is there a version of the 21-foot rule for katana vs M16? Not to mention, samurai had access to a wider range of weapons than just katana.
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

My problem with the mechanics of Tactics in Characters is that is seems to assume a very abstracted start of encounters. My encounters typically have the opposition set up in advance (using roll20) and the players location determined by how they approach the area. I'm going to look into the re-roll mechanics for future campaigns.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
In my mind, a master tactician could be vitally important because they could negate any advantages of their opponents. Imagine a situation where you have medieval samurai versus modern infantry. If the medieval samurai have a master tactician on their side, they could start combat within reach and behind the modern infantry, allowing them to surprise and slaughter the enemy before they can even respond, despite suffering a horrible technological disadvantage.
This kind of reads to me as if you are starting with the GURPS rules, looking for the most beneficial possible interpretation, and then coming up with a narrative based on it. I tend to prefer to look for a narrative that makes sense and then try to figure out what application of GURPS rules is compatible with that narrative. I'm not sure there's a plausible narrative for the scenario about the samurai.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:11 PM   #10
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Utility of a Master Tactician

Let's put the samurai to the side and compare two equivalent companies of contemporary infantry (the largest group you can reasonably influence with Tactics at TL8, as you can use it through one intermediary). Imagine the impact of one company led by a junior CO with Tactics-12 against one company led by a senior NCO with Tactics-24 (we will assume the captain of the second company understands well enough that his or her job is to push paperwork while their senior NCO gets the job done). What difference could we expect in performance when they are facing each other in combat (either combat exercises or real combat)?
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