I’m determined to get this working; the concept is a Savage Worlds game using Chain Reaction as a GM emulator. Third time lucky, perhaps…
SETUP AND SPECIAL RULES
This is a Chain Reaction Final Version patrol scenario, featuring SG-13 vs Jafar. I dice for Enemy Activity Level and get a 5, as always. There are two PEFs in section 6 and one in section 5. To succeed, the player group must spend one action observing the centre of each of the 9 sections. I don’t want to invest the time in a full-blown Player Character at this stage, so I’ll just use an Experienced Soldier and make him a Wild Card… meet Lieutenant Stoner, recently promoted to command of SG-13.
- One hex on the battlemat is 2”, and running dice which generate an odd total of inches moved are rounded up. PEF movement is reduced to 6” and 12” rather than 8” and 16”, to bring it in line with SW Pace.
- Scrub is light cover, small trees are medium cover, big trees are heavy cover. PEFs and groups can see (and resolve) each other if there are fewer than 3 hexes of tree foliage separating them, including the hexes they are in.
- There is one initiative card drawn per side, and enemy groups of PEFs act in increasing order of distance from the player group.
- Figures are Soldier archetypes and count as Rep 4 unless they have snake head masks or binoculars, in which case they are Experienced Soldiers, who count as Rep 5. The PC ( Lt. Stoner) and the first Experienced Soldier NPC encountered are Wild Cards, others are Extras.
“It started as an ordinary patrol…”
I draw one initiative card for each PC (one) and one for all opposing forces – this is actually normal SW procedure, rather than the one card per group I used in experiment 2 (Arion’s escape from Tainaron). Normally in SW, friendly NPCs are controlled by the players and move when the relevant PCs move.
4 of Spades: PEF1 moves towards PEF 2 and stops 4” away. PEF2 and PEF3 both move 12” closer to the player group.
2 of Hearts: SG-13 runs onto the board and into cover in section 8. Stoner resolves PEF1 as a false alarm. (If the other team members were Wild Cards, I would have them scan sections 7, 8 and 9, but as there is only one Wild Card/Star present that’s not viable.)
“We moved up the centre of the area we’d been ordered to sweep. I thought I saw something moving, but it was a false alarm.”
9 of Diamonds: SG-13 moves cautiously through cover towards the middle of the board. This brings Stoner close enough to PEF3 to resolve it; it is another false alarm.
3 of Spades: The remaining PEF splits into two.
King of Hearts: SG-13 goes On Hold, reserving its action until later in the turn, as the PEFs are quite close now and I want to be able to react to whatever they do. Not using On Hold has been a major oversight in my solo SW games to date, and I expect its proper use to bring me much closer to the kind of tactical play I get with CRFV or 5150.
7 of Diamonds: PEF3A moves 12” through cover towards SG-13 and resolves as four Jafar. PEF3B does likewise and resolves as 6 more Jafar. I decide it’s fair for SG-13 to interrupt the enemy’s actions at this point, and it comes off hold and shakes out into a rough firing line, with each one burst-firing at the closest Jafar. (I did consider using Suppressive Fire, but unless the opposition is prone in heavy cover, I think burst fire comes out ahead statistically, which is in line with current tactical thinking as I understand it – short, controlled bursts rather than full auto into the shrubbery.) Stoner wounds one of the two Experienced Jafar, removing him from play; one team member hits but fails to damage his foe, another misses, and the third doesn’t have a clear Line Of Sight. Those Jafar who were under fire take a Received Fire test, pass 2d6 (they get 4d6 for this roll, one extra for their leader and one extra for being in cover, so it’s not surprising), and each shoot at their nearest enemy. They are at –2 to hit for having run, so only one hits, and his staff weapon (equivalent to a laser rifle) does 10 damage, shaking the team member (who has Toughness 7).
“Suddenly, we blundered into a dozen or so Jafar who had been stalking us, using the forest for concealment.”
This was a really bad time to get a poor card. However, I notice I have been missing the NPC Movement Table for the past couple of games – oops. Let’s start using it now, shall we? Neither Jafar group outnumbers SG-13 by more than 2:1, which determines their possible actions by selecting a column on that table.
9 of Spades: The Shaken Jafar recovers, but it takes him all turn. Both Jafar groups want to move to a position in cover where they can open fire on SG-13, but one is already in such a position so it stays put. A fusillade of laser bolts zap through the undergrowth, but thanks to the cover modifiers only one hits, Wounding a team member. SG-13 takes a Man Down test and passes 1d6, which is just enough for it to Carry On. The fire from the second group triggers a Received Fire test, but again SG-13 carries on.
2 of Spades: SG-13 has taken casualties, and is outnumbered more than 2:1. Discretion seems by far the better part of valour at this point, so the team falls back to its entry point at the run, with the team doctor making pickup on the wounded guy, and Stoner dragging the Shaken one, who stubbornly refuses to recover.
“After due consideration, I decided upon a retrograde manoeuvre, and the team withdrew in good order, recovering its casualties as it went.”
9 of Hearts: SG-13 goes first, and runs off the board. (I fudged the movement for SG-13 this turn and last as I was under pressure to hand back Table Mountain for other uses!)
The wounded guy recovers. Stoner gets one experience point for surviving (he would have got a second for succeeding).
This went a lot faster, mostly because of drawing fewer cards, and I’m pretty pleased with how well it worked.
Suppressive fire doesn’t seem to be terribly effective. I’ve noticed this in a number of SW games.
I’m sure I can get this to work with a little more tweaking. My main motivations for trying are first, that a solo SW game would be good both for exploring the rules further and maintaining my level of knowledge; and second, that eventually I’d like to play alongside my players, with a game “AI” running the opposition. The second objective, of course, could be achieved simply by playing one of 2HW’s games straight, and we’ll see how that goes in due course, once I have All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out properly figured out.