Commanders and skills they don't have

We tried out a Firefight the other night. It was… instructive. We pulled some commanders and soldiers from the back of the book, which turns out not to have been the best idea. There were a lot of skills lacking, which leads to my main questions:

Does a commander have to test a skill? Can he pass it of to someone else with the appropriate skills?

The rules seem to indicate that it has to be the commnder, but some of the examples in the book make it unclear.

The specific issues came from taking Observation actions.

Any playable character is allowed to make a roll from my interpretation of the rules, within reason. Mostly my reasoning is based on p. 481
“At the top of each volley, each commander reveals his action, then decides
who will make the test as described in the Unit Action heading for the action.”

You need to temper it with care because of the rules on p. 507-508, which basically state that the commander should be the focus of attention. However, in certain cases where for example the 2iC is better suited for the task both in terms of skills and role I’ll let him do the roll. For example, on an Observe action, it’s unlikely the commander/general is the one gathering the information from signals/observe but instead his scouts will. However, in actions like Advance it’d be almost required for the Commander to be the one making the roll, unless he delegates to someone else to lead the troops.

Actually I think non-playable characters can make the roll, assuming that they have been brought into the game mechanically (Circles or the Hammer Lord/Anvil Lord traits or Affiliation+Relationship).

Cool… that’s what made sense to me. Thanks for the response.

As far as I understand it - the only roll the commander must roll is the “Officer’s roll” on page 470 to set the dispositions of the forces.

Although I believe the commander is may not always be the FON, or the PC’s main character - One character I have played is a Corporate Exec, with a Chief of Security as her 2iC; the exec doesn’t know the first thing about a firefight, and so when it has come up it was the Security Chief who led the security team in firefights, with the Exec giving occasional words of advice. On the other hand if you had an incompetant Anvil Lord with a skilled Lieutenat; when the Anvil go into battle it will be the Lord who will be making the rolls (even if the PC is the Lieutenant), the best the Lieutenant can do is ‘Help’ the Lord (or arrange for the Lord to be elsewhere when a battle is iminent).

Most of the rolls in the firefight come use either Tactics or Command, so if you are thinking of having a character lead many firefight you should take both these skills (even at their root values it will be better than beginer’s luck).

If you want to use some sample character’s download the demo scenario (Fire’s over Omac) from the wiki. Several of the characters there are suficiently skilled in Firefight skills to make an interesting fight. While you are at it I (and many others here) recommend playing through the scenario first before burning up your own world/characters.

There must be space in the rules for bad commanders… and there is! The incompetent Anvil Lord must be able to lead his troops to disaster – mechanically. This is directly supported in the Firefight rules.

If the best character tests for each instance in a Firefight, there’s no point in having any character differentiation. Might as well just roll 8 dice per roll and call it a day.

Anyway, it’s also why you have captains, lieutenants and sergeants. They each have a specialty in the chain of command and order of battle. Also, lords-pilots are not universally awesome. They need support, too.

So, I’m confused again. Can my commander defer to a specialist’s Sensors when taking an Observe action?

My interpretation. Yes; if it makes sense in the narative.

I’m a confusing man. I think he can, yes. Imagine the commander in the chain of command giving orders up and down the chain of command. He’s not going to give an order that undermines his command, but he will order his subordinates to perform their duties.

Okay, I’m un-confused.

Also, IIRC, Hammer Lord and Anvil Lord don’t give access to anyone with Command or Tactics. You get a lot of Signals, Sensors, Squad Support Weapons, that kind of thing. So you’d need a stentor, 2IC, or Circled-up officer for that.

Devin’s statement is correct, Anvil/Hammer Lords only have access to these skills and traits. (for free, they can circle other skills/traits as per the Circle rules)

After looking over the list of firefight actions, unless the commander had a 2iC, I’d need real good reasons to allow someone other than the commander to roll for the actions. Other than Observe which I really believe to be a subordinates’ job, most of the actions involve leadership of some kind. Hence the commander should be rolling.

Though I can see how allowing for someone else to roll for you would be required for certain character concepts, like a REMF General. However, I believe Luke’s assertion that the commander should be the focus is spot-on, and the narrative and outcome should reflect who made the roll. Sure the REMF might appear victorious to others, but all his soldiers know he didn’t do anything. Might affect morale or loyalty significantly. The GM might even leverage this as obstacles in future conflicts. :slight_smile:

Least that’s my take on it!