Vehicle Combat

Discussion of GMing 1879. Warning: Here there be spoilers!
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Vehicle Combat

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:41 am

So I know that the vehicle combat is forthcoming, but I wanted to run something with it sooner than that -- This is what I came up with. I'll be running it in an adventure next month, so any feedback before then would be appreciated!

The higher a vehicle’s Speed the better; the lower its maneuverability the better.

Vehicles operate on a different timescale than individuals. Each the equivalent for a Vehicle is called its Phase and it lasts a number of rounds equal to its Maneuverability.

A vehicle may have a number of Cohorts. A cohort consists of up to 20 GMCs and up to one PC. A vehicle’s maximum crew is 150% of its standard crew. A vehicle with 50% or less its crew is considered Harried (-2) for all tests. A vehicle with 24% or less of its crew is Overwhelmed (-3), and a vehicle with less than 10% is completely uncontrolled.

Leadership Cohort
Each vehicle has a Leadership Cohort. The person (the Captain, Commander, etc) in charge must have the Leadership Skill to control the other Cohorts. As per the book, the Captain can command up to 20 x rank individuals. Otherwise, everyone on the vehicle acts as individuals, rather than as Cohorts.
The Leadership Cohort will make a Pilot Vehicle test to perform whatever Maneuver they like, but is limited to the number of successes the Crew Cohorts earned in the last Phase for that Maneuver. For Example: if the Crew Cohort earned 2 Successes in Control Range, then the Leadership Cohort is limited to 2 Successes on their Pilot [Vehicle] test to Control Range. If there is more than one person in the Leadership Cohort, each person may make Pilot [Vehicle] test for various Vehicle Actions. This is the only Cohort in which individuals make tests.

Crew Cohort
Each Crew Cohort can support a different Maneuver for the Leadership Cohort’s Pilot [Vehicle] Skill.

Engineering Cohort
A steam-driven vehicle may have a Mechanic, typically the character with the highest Mechanic skill, to push the vehicle’s performance and perform emergency repairs. A Sail-driven vehicle might have a Boatswain that performs the same purpose, but who depends on the Crew Ship and Carpentry Skills.

Gunnery Cohort
A Gunnery Cohort operates one of the vehicle’s armaments.

Soldier Cohort
Soldier Cohorts are military units. They use the average steps and skills of the individuals to attempt any given action.
Each type of vehicle has a Base Defense. To find the Physical Defense, add the vehicle’s current speed. So if an American Leviathan Class Locomotive is moving at its cruising speed of Step 16 (57.6 mph), its Physical Defense is 18.

At the beginning of a vehicle’s Phase, the players and GM declare what each Cohort is attempting. The Leadership Cohort makes an Initiative test for the entire vehicle. Each round, the vehicle moves on the Initiative result. At the end of the Phase, resolve the Crew, Engineering and/or Leadership, and the Gunnery and/or Soldier Cohorts, in that order. Then roll Initiative again at the beginning of the next round.
If no Crew Cohorts earned any Successes in a Maneuver but the Leadership Cohort insists on attempting it anyway, they are limited to 1 Success and takes a -2 to their roll, as they must perform most of the work themselves or try to assign random crew members.

GMCs and PCs that are not part of a Cohort act as normal each round. The GM may abstract as much of the movement or other aspects of the combat as he or she wishes in order to keep the focus on the players.

Vehicles for One
A very few vehicles are meant to be operated by one person. In those cases, the Pilot is not limited in anyway by the number of successes that the non-existent Crew Cohorts did not earn.

PCs and Vehicle Combat
If PCs don’t want to control the vehicle, it is perfectly acceptable to let them run combat as normal, with the GM narrating the vehicle action as it suits the story.

Any Crew Cohorts manning guns may make a Gunnery test as the same time as the Pilot’s Pilot Test. Any Soldier Cohorts may make a Small Arms Barrage. However, unless the Pilot has made a successful Offensive Position test, they subtract their vehicle’s current Speed.

Combat and Cohorts
Like vehicles, Cohorts have Disabled, Destroyed, and Critical Hit Thresholds instead of Unconscious, Death, and Wound ratings. Injury to individuals can be dealt with after combat as desired. If a Soldier Cohort engages an individual, each person in the Cohort makes an attack test against the individual. So if a PC decides to engage a Soldier Cohort with 18 people in it, the PC will deal with 18 separate attacks. Not a good idea.

If a Cohort is Disabled, everyone is injured and out of the fight, but could be healed up after the fight. If it is Destroyed, everyone is either killed or injured so badly that they will be out of the action for months, requiring a new Cohort to be formed. If a Cohort suffers a Critical Hit, 10% (round up) of the Cohort is killed. The Cohort takes -1 to all tests.

Damage to a Vehicle
Each Critical Hit targets one of 3 systems, determined at random:
- Motive Power: -2 to Current Speed and Speed Rating
- Steering: +2 to Maneuverability
- Cohort, chosen at random. The Cohort takes half of the rolled damage (so if a 7 pounder cannon does 36 points of damage, the Cohort takes 18, which might result in a Critical Hit to the Cohort.
- Crew
- Soldier
- Gunnery
- Engineering

Called Shots
A Called Shot on a Gunnery or Small Arms Barrage is the only way the Leadership Cohort or a specific system (such as a weapon) can be targeted. A Called Shot can also be used to try to disable a ship without permanently damaging. In this case, the Disabled Threshold is lowered by the Damage test, just as with Stun damage to characters. The Disabled Threshold can be restored with a successful Mechanics or Carpentry test after the battle.

Pilot [Vehicle]
**charts don't copy/paste well here, so it's simplified
Control Range
May choose:
Close (about 50 yds),
Short (about 100 yds),
Medium (about 250 yds),
Long (about 500 yds), or
Extreme (1000 yds or more)
Or Disengage (over 2000 yds, ending combat
Faster Vehicle gets +2 to Pilot test
TN: Target vehicle’s Current PD.

Offensive Position
Unless Pilot succeeds, subtract the vehicle’s current speed all Gunnery tests this Phase.
TN: Target vehicle’s Current PD.

Negotiate Terrain
+2 if Current Speed is less than maneuverability; -2 if Current Speed is over Cruising Speed
GM determines TN.

Hold Steady
If the Leadership Cohort doesn’t have enough success to perform the desired Vehicle Action, they can bank the accumulated successes and have the Crew Cohorts try to get more in the next phase.

A Cohort may move from one area to another, for example, from Soldier to Crew. This takes the Cohort’s action for the round. Of course, their Crew [Vehicle] Skill may be significantly lower.
No test required.

Split Cohort
A Cohort may be split into 2 groups and one of the groups can be Reassigned. This takes the action for both Cohorts, and both Cohorts are at -2 to all vehicle actions for the rest of the battle.
No test required.

Soldier/Gunnery Actions

Any armament that is crewed may fire, using the Gunnery Skill of the Cohort.
Unless the Pilot has succeeded on a Offensive Position test, subtract the vehicle’s speed from the Gunnery step.
Target vehicle’s Current PD.

Small Arms Barrage
Any Soldier Cohort can fire using its Missile Weapons Skill. Must be within Close Range. Mostly only effective as a Called Shot against a Cohort
Unless the Pilot has succeeded on a Offensive Position test, subtract the vehicle’s speed from the Gunnery step.

Must be within Boarding Range. Soldier Cohort must make an Athletics test. On a failure, the Cohort takes damage. Roll a Damage test with the step equal to the Current Speed of the fastest vehicle. Unless the Pilot has succeeded on a Offensive Position test, subtract the vehicle’s speed from the Athletics test
TN: Target vehicle’s Current PD.

Engineering Actions

If successful, ignore the effects of one Critical Hit to Motive or Maneuver until the end of combat.
TN: The Vehicle’s Critical Hit Threshold

Each success adds to the Pilot’s potential successes, to be used for any Leadership Cohort Action. The Vehicle takes 1 point of strain per success.
TN: The Vehicle’s Current Physical Defense.

Must be within Close Range. Unless the Pilot has succeeded on a Offensive Position test, subtract the vehicle’s speed from the Skill test.
TN: Target vehicle’s Current PD.

Vehicle's Base Physical Defense:
Pedal-Driven 6
Horse-Drawn 5
Steam Coach 5
Locomotive 2
Kettle 4
Oar/Paddle/Pole Boat 6
Sail/Steam Boat 4
Sail/Steam Ship 2
Gifford 2

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Re: Vehicle Combat

Post by Andrew1879 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:25 am

That's not bad, and probably functional for your purposes. It's reasonably close to what we're working on, although what we have is redeveloped from the ED1E Airship and Riverboat rules, and has two time scales, one for the vehicle and one for the characters. Basically, you get one Vehicle Maneuver, then a few combat rounds, then another Vehicle Maneuver, etc. I'll see about getting a preview into a blog entry.

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Re: Vehicle Combat

Post by Andrew1879 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:55 pm

Vehicle combat system preview goes up on 14 October in the Line Developer's Blog.

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Re: Vehicle Combat

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:31 pm

Been meaning to comment on the vehicular combat blog. I'm pretty excited about the way the time scale shifts according to the type of action.

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Re: Vehicle Combat

Post by Andrew1879 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:02 pm

Part of the goal here is to keep the combat moving, rather than letting it bog down in a series of redundant dice rolls. We also want players to be able to seize the moment, and take charge of the action, since they're the stars of the show.

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