Check our engagement decisions

Here is the engagement part of a large Fight! we had in BWG THAC0. I’ll describe what happened, let me know if we did things wrong?

Setup: Nighttime. The elf and dwarf were over there by that tree, funeraling. The troll was camouflaged nearby and the sorcerer and NPC sorc were hiding behind it. An orc captain driving goblins and five trailing orcs came out of the ruined city towards the singing. The troll threw a rock and the orc captain sent two of his orcs to investigate. All the remaining baddies began running towards the elf and dwarf while the troll snuck up on the distracted orcs.

Engagement: I said there were four classes of possible animate targets. Two orcs investigating the rock noise, eight goblins, one orc captain, and three orcs.

  1. The troll chose to engage the two orcs, automatically succeeding because his successful stealth caused them to hesitate.

  2. The sorcerer chose to engage the 8 goblins. I had the goblins choose to engage the two sorcerers. Should I have let the goblins engage both sorcerers as a group?

  3. The dwarf chose to engage the orc captain, and the orc captain the dwarf. They wanted a duel and got it.

  4. The elf chose to engage the 8 goblins as they were closest and she was enraged by the interruption. They were going after the sorcerers and didn’t care. Should this have made a difference in their engagement test?

  5. The 3 orcs chose to engage the elf. Is that kosher or should we have matched up groups to PC 1:1? 'cause the elf ended up engaged at her disadvantage with both the 8 goblins and the 3 orcs.

  6. The NPC sorc was told to engage the 3 orcs. Is that kosher, or should she have had to engage the goblins along with her spatially-fellow sorc who I had the goblins engage as part of her group anyway, and who wasn’t engaging the 3 orcs?

Final engagement results as we played it:

2 rocked orcs 1 orc captain 3 mook orcs 8 mook goblins
troll PC troll adv - - -
sorcerer PC - - - sorcerer adv
dwarf PC - orc captain adv - -
elf PC - - orc mooks adv goblin mooks adv
sorc NPC - - orc mooks adv goblin mooks adv

Final question… if e.g. the elf wanted to engage, say, “the closest 2 goblins” or something, would that be kosher? So the 8 goblins would end up engaged with the sorcs, 2 of them also with the elf, and the 3 orcs still also with the elf? Basically if I say something like “those 8 spiders are acting as a group” but they don’t care about the elf, can the elf choose to engage just some of them or must he engage them all at once? (If they do care about the elf I’d force engaging them all at once since they have pack hunter… if it was something without pack hunter, what then?)

I’d like to buy a vowel.

Wow. Crazy! This is for Fight, right?
Let’s see.
I read Goblins, npc Sorcerer, elf, sorcerer and three orcs all engaged in a swirling melee.

When you engage with someone, you draw them into the fight and they have to respond. Even if the response is to run.

As for partially engaging the goblins, that depends. If you have the goblins acting as a group, then they can be split up. If you have them acting individually then they can be engaged piecemeal.

Provided no one in the swirling melee tottered off they would all have been in striking distance. You got a TPK, right?

You question about whether this was Fight! leads me to wonder whether this should have started in R&C.

So instead of deciding "hey, I’m going to test to engage that target/group over there, it’s more like “who’s engaged where, by the narration that’s occurred? Okay, now test to determine advantage/disadvantage”?

Figuring out how to do engagement is especially important for our sorcerer PC who has a spell that hits all enemies he’s engaged with. It still hasn’t been crystal clear when he can decide he is or is not engaged with various combatants.

(Incidentally, that spell is also a major reason there was no TPK… these are not 3LP chars, they’re 4LP.)

Yeah, sounds like you might be going to Engagement a bit too soon.
The call for the troll was good—he used Stealth/Camouflage to get in on his opponents.
Other characters could have done the some jockeying with Speed, Stealthy or Tactics before the fight started.

But the best way to do it is simply talk it out! Describe what’s happening, let the players react a bit until it’s time to fight!