Playtest: Lucky and Hail of Fire

The Character Sheets

Peter Pulp
A detective and pulp hero.
Character Points: 40 or 50

Defence: 5
Marksmanship: 5
Melee: 5
Strength: 3
Toughness: 3

Athletics: 4
Intelligence: 4
Perception: 5
Socialize: 4
Willpower: 4

Hit Points: 15
Weapons: AK-47 (9 Damage, Two Shots)
Armour: None

Advantages:

  • Expert (crime)
  • Detective
  • Firearms Training
  • (Lucky)
  • Pain Resistance

Greg Gritty
A ruthless ex-Special Forces mercernary.
Character Points: 40

Defence: 5
Marksmanship: 5
Melee: 5
Strength: 4
Toughness: 4

Athletics: 4
Intelligence: 2
Perception: 4
Socialize: 2
Willpower: 4

Hit Points: 20
Weapons: M14 with Advanced Scope (9 Damage, Two Shots, +1 to hit)
Armour: Kevlar (4 Soak)

Advantages:

  • Armour Training
  • Firearms Training
  • Pain Resistance
  • Stealth

Soviet Soldier
Soldier
This represents the basic infantry of a modern First-World Military
Character Points: 24

Defence: 3
Marksmanship: 3
Melee: 3
Strength: 3
Toughness: 3

Athletics: 3
Intelligence: 2
Perception: 3
Socialize: 2
Willpower: 3

Hit Points: 15
Weapon: AK-47(9 Damage, Two Shots)
Armour: Full Kevlar Body Armour, including helmet (Soak 4)

Advantages:

  • Armour Training
  • Firearms Training

Peter versus the Commies!

Peter Pulp is investigating a suspicious laboratory built in a disused West German factory. Suddenly, a hidden door opens and five Soviet soldiers enter the room! Thinking quickly, Peter grabs an AK-47 from one of the soldiers (In mechanical terms, I'm assuming that Peter wins the initiative and succeeds in a disarm attempt, both of which are pretty likely). The disarmed soldier flees.

The remaining soldiers open fire. Peter needs to roll -2 or better to dodge each shot.

Test 1: Peter rolls +1, -1, +3, -2, +1, -2, +0, +2. Peter dodges all 8 shots.
Test 2: Peter rolls +2, +0, +1, -4, +1, +3, +1, -1. One soldiers scores a critical hit, knocking Peter out.
Test 3: Peter rolls -1, +2, -2, -3, +2, +0, -1, +3. Peter is hit once, reducing him to 6 hit points.
Test 4: Peter rolls +1, -1, +0, +2, +3, -1, -1, +0. Peter dodges all 8 shots.
Test 5: Peter rolls -1, +0, +0, -1, +0, +1, -1, -1. Peter dodges all 8 shots.
Test 6: Peter rolls +3, +2, +0, -1, -2, -2, +3, -1. Peter dodges all 8 shots.
Test 7: Peter rolls +1, +0, -2, -2, +1, +1, +0, +4. Peter dodges all 8 shots.
Test 8: Peter rolls +1, +0, +0, -2, +0, +0, +2, +2. Peter dodges all 8 shots.
Test 9: Peter rolls -1, -1, -1, -1, +1, +3, +2, +0. Peter dodges all 8 shots.
Test 10: Peter rolls +0, +2, +0, -3, -2, +1, +0, +1. Peter is hit once, reducing him to 6 hit points.

This demonstrates the "bullet-dodger" problem pretty well. Characters with Defence 5 can pretty much ignore basic soldiers with relative safety, even when outnumbered considerably.

If we add the Hail of Fire rules and use the same rolls, the results are as followings (Peter needs -2 to dodge the first shot, then -1, then +0, then +1 and so on).

Test 1: Peter is hit 5 times, leaving him a bloody smear on the ground.
Test 2: Peter is hit 4 times, one of which is a critical. Once again, it's bloody smear time.
Test 3: Peter is hit 5 times. Bloody smear.
Test 4: Peter is hit 3 times. Unconscious and maimed.
Test 5: Peter is hit 5 times. Bloody smear.
Test 6: Peter is hit 5 times. Bloody smear.
Test 7: Peter is hit 5 times. Bloody smear.
Test 8: Peter is hit 5 times. Bloody smear.
Test 9: Peter is hit 5 times. Bloody smear.
Test 10: Peter is hit 5 times. Bloody smear.

Wow. Also, ouch. What happens if we add Lucky?

Test 1: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.
Test 2: The critical and the second hit get soaked by luck, but again, the remaining hits knock Peter out.
Test 3: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.
Test 4: All hits absorbed by luck points. Peter is unharmed, but out of luck points. Time to run, Pete.
Test 5: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.
Test 6: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.
Test 7: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.
Test 8: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.
Test 9: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.
Test 10: First 3 hits get soaked up by luck points, but the remaining two hits still knock Peter out.

Lucky does not seem to help us a huge amount. This tends to suggest Hail of Fire is too cruel.

Let's see how we get on with armour in the mix.

Operation Night Owl

Greg Gritty is operating behind the Iron Curtain, working for rogue elements of the American military. As he approaches a Soviet base, he bypasses the outer patrols, but is spotted by one of the inner patrols. Four soldiers and a guard dog rush towards him, but Greg dispassionately fills the guard dog with lead. The maimed dog flees, wimpering.

The soldiers open fire. Like Peter, Greg needs to roll a -2 or better the evade each shot.

Test 1: Greg rolls +2, +3, -2, +0, +2, -1, +2, +0. He evades all 8 bullets.
Test 2: Greg rolls -1, +0, -3, -3, +0, -1, +0, -1. He gets hit twice. Thank God for body armour. He drops to 10 hp.
Test 3: Greg rolls +1, +1, +4, +2, +2, -1, -4, +0. One soldier scores a critical. Greg is dropped to 7 hp.
Test 4: Greg rolls +0, +0, +0, +2, +0, -1, -2, +1. He evades all 8 bullets.
Test 5: Greg rolls +1, -1, -2, -1, +0, +0, -1, +3. He evades all 8 bullets.
Test 6: Greg rolls +1, -1, +0, +0, +3, -1, +2, +0. He evades all 8 bullets.
Test 7: Greg rolls +0, +1, -1, +1, +0, +1, +1, +4. He evades all 8 bullets.
Test 8: Greg rolls -1, -1, +0, -1, +0, +3, +2, -1. He evades all 8 bullets.
Test 9: Greg rolls -1, -1, +0, +1, +0, +1, -1, +0. He evades all 8 bullets.
Test 10: Greg rolls -1, +0, +1, -3, -1, +2, -3, +2. He gets hit twice. Thank God for body armour. He drops to 10 hp.

Bullet dodger once more. The Defence helps way more than the body armour.

Add Hail of Fire to the same rolls.

Test 1: Greg gets hit 5 times. Even with body armour, he gets to enjoy slowly bleeding out.
Test 2: Greg gets hit 6 times. Ouch.
Test 3: Greg gets hits 3 times, but one is a critical. Unconscious.
Test 4: Greg gets hit 4 times. Unconscious.
Test 5: Greg gets hit 6 times. Ouch again.
Test 6: Greg gets hit 4 times. Unconscious.
Test 7: Greg gets hit 4 times. Unconscious.
Test 8: Greg gets hit 4 times. Unconscious.
Test 9: Greg gets hit 4 times. Unconscious.
Test 10: Greg gets hit 6 times. Ouch once more.

That was bloody and not expected.

Conclusion

  • Without Hail of Fire, Defence is really, far too good, especially the upgrade from 3 to 6 or so.
  • Hail of Fire in incrediably brutal and allows even quite wimpy mooks to massacre PCs, body armour and Lucky notwithstanding.
  • Something is needed instead of Hail of Fire. Something less brutal than HoF, more harsh than existing rules and preferably involving less rolling.
  • Defence may need to be either split into Block(melee range defence) and Dodge(long range defence) or just doubled in cost. Either would mean an overhaul of all stat blocks.
  • What do you guys think?

Run a test that limits HoF to -2.

Running it for Peter.

Test 1: Hit twice. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and 2lp.
Test 2: Hit twice, one of which crits. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and no luck points.
Test 3: Hit three times. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and no luck points.
Test 4: Hit twice. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and 2lp.
Test 5: Hit three times. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and no luck points.
Test 6: Hit four times. Without Lucky, he's a smear. With Lucky, he's down to 6hp.
Test 7: Hit twice. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and 2lp.
Test 8: Hit once. Without Lucky, he's down to 6hp. With Lucky, he's on 11lp and full hp.
Test 9: Hit twice. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and 2lp.
Test 10: Hit twice. Unconscious without Lucky. With Lucky, he has full hp and 2lp.