Exponent of Non-Anvil Affiliations

We’re building up to our last session of Stranglehold, and it seems like maybe the PC Anvil Lord might be making an all-out attack on the NPC Crime Lord. The Crime Lord has a 3D affiliation, and has built artillery, etc. to protect his fortified asteroid Dexon 7.

That being said, if we do get into a Firefight, how should i determine the disposition of his criminal forces? what would their skill exponent be for his thugs, breakers, gunsels? he has a second with a 4 skill in close combat, assault weapons, signals, security, etc. He’s expecting an attack. Should I make a circle’s test to find his ‘master gunners’ with exponent 6 or should I assume his 3D affiliation buys him the same exponent 5 skill that the Anvil Lord Trait buys the PC?

If you’ve got a “Gang or Crew” relationship with your guys, you’ve got your guys. For the standard forces on the ground you’re probably looking at someone with Assault Weapons 4 and CC 4 and fairly average stats. Assuming you have that relationship (it looks like you do, since you’ve got a 2ic and all) you can probably assume you’ve got a signals specialist in the mix as well.

The thing to remember is that the dispo roll and all unit action tests will be made by the commander of the unit (so probably either the Crime Lord himself or his 2ic). So the only times that you’ll need to worry about individual unit skills are: shot ops, ammo checks, and steel / health stuff.

Yeah, right now that Crime Lord better find someone with Tactics and Command to lead his forces or the Anvil Lord is going to (rightly) roll him up.

the crime lord has tactics from his Criminal lifepath, and the other GM FON have Command which they can use to help him advance, etc. if it fits the fiction. i’m more worried about those close combat and direct fire rolls… so having crew with exponent 4 is justifiable, then?

Well, Devin and I have been filling our Iron firefight teams with the L-P Anvil fellows from the back of the book, who are all exponent 4 (with a +1 most of the time for their Iron) so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. If I want or need bigger dudes, circle up a crew of hardened killers.

You better circles up somebody with Tactics and Command, otherwise you’re going to be fucked.

Well, my Anvil Lord and his Cotor Fomas have been leading the squads so not really a problem there. I was more directly answering Jonathan’s question about the random guys who are taking the individual tests. But yes, as I learned the hard way, not having tactics AND command in a squad can be really really painful.

Why can’t you just assume each squad has a Squad Leader with Tactics and Command at 4 as well?

The Anvil Lord and Hammer Lord traits are what confer free skills of a certain exponent on NPCs Circled up with Anvil affiliations and Hammer affiliations, respectively. If you aren’t using those traits to make a Circles test (e.g., you’re circling up criminals), then you use the Skill obstacle modifiers in the Circles table on page 348 to set their skill exponents.

In my case, I had a GMFON leading the squad who had command (I think) but not tactics and it happened because one of the PCs came in through the wall with his 5-man iron squad. It got ugly fast. Granted it was also my first firefight ever so I didn’t really know what I was doing but even still.

As for assuming squads have squad leaders with command, if you circles up a group of soldiers their squad leader totally has tactics and command. It’s more an issue when you’re hanging around with your dudes (a bunch of Vaylen Sleepers basically) and someone kicks in the door. Pulling the stats from the back of the book doesn’t give you anyone with military training which means nobody with tactics or command.

Also (as a side note) Vaylen Sleeper makes for great insurgent and guerilla fighters. Wormy or not, that’s the skill package for insurgents and resistance fighters. If you need someone better (professional mercenary types but not full-on anvil), the professional Soldier entry works well, even though it’s technically volunteer soldiers for Civilian Commune settings.

EDIT: Post-owned by Thor!

Ok, this part has been a source of confusion for my players and I as of late.

Ok, lets say I’ve got a Cotar Fomas. Let’s use Faith from the comics as an example. And he’s got his 2nd in command, and a relationship with the Grey Rats.

Ok, so that’s his gang or crew. Now, according to cathexis: “If you’ve got a “Gang or Crew” relationship with your guys, you’ve got your guys.” So that would include Assault Troopers, Squad Leaders (with Tactics) and a command structure (with Command) all available for Faith and his Grey Rats, right?

So, what exponent are the Grey Rats? Really, what’s the difference between a Gang or Crew and the Anvil/Hammer Lord Traits?

Sorry, posted in wrong thread. Please disregard!

The difference is that you pay a lot more in Circles for the gang/crew as the Anvil Lord trait let’s you get the same thing without a 2iC. Also, in my game I don’t let the gang/crew have skills/equipment that don’t make sense. For example, a criminal gang won’t have Squad Support Weapons or armed vehicle, but they have Infiltration.

From what I’m reading above though, that’s not the case. The Avil/Hammer Lord traits give you specific skills, from specific lifepaths, and a specific exponent.

A gang or crew gives you ONE guy with specific skills/exponents/lifepaths, and then… some dudes. From what Luke and Thor were saying, you have to circles in people that have specific skills.

Now, I understand that having a 2IC, a Rep, and an Affiliation means that Circlesing up someone from your gang or crew should be pretty easy, as you’ve got your Circles, your rep, your affiliation, and help from your 2IC.

So is that the point of those rules? To lock you into spending Circles on a gang or crew during character burning so it makes narrative sense that you have a pretty easy time calling on them? But they don’t actually convey anything special like the Hammer/Anvil Lord trait does?

If I understand that correctly, it means having a gang or crew isn’t actually special or different from any other Circles roll, it just forces the players to spend their points in such a way so that if he says he has a gang or crew, he’s also backed that up mechanically. If that’s the case, you can never assume that you have guys with any skill or any exponent, you use the Circles rules just like anybody else. It just so happens you’ve focused your affiliations, reputations, and help in such a way as to make having these people available likely and narratively consistent.

Thor/Luke, am I correct on this?

You’re correct-ish. Gang-or-crew affiliations gives you an obvious connection to people who are predisposed to you without having to raise your circles ob, as well as the ability to say “I’m showing up with my 2ic and my squad of dudes” without having to circle up a leader with his squad of dudes. This is really important since you don’t have the fear of finding a well armed guy who hates you when you need a fireteam. As a side benefit, a gang or crew makes it easier to circle up specific people within the gang because you’ve got a rep and affiliation and help with circles.

The Hammer/Anvil Lord trait is like a light-weight gang/crew affiliation with everyone in the Hammer or Anvil. Unlike a gang or crew where you can get anyone who makes sense to be in your gang, you’re limited to early lifepath people, but you can literally snap your fingers and get a signals tech. Any time, anywhere, and you’ve got it.

So really, the point of the rule is to have a group of people who are always there if you need them, in essence having you pay the points now to not need to circle them up later. If you need a specific person in that gang, you’re going to need to make a circles roll but if you just need some dudes you’ve got them.

One other thing, a gang-or-crew 2ic does not give you a fully burned up fellow with lifepaths and everything (though you can generally assume “he’s probably a smuggler with circles 3” or something if you need him to help get you someone from your gang), for a full burned guy you’ll need a Kerrn or Stentor as per the rules a bit farther down the page.