Firefight, Individual Actions, and a first time BE GM

As I have read the rules for Firefight, I have the following questions:

  1. I have been noticing a lot of rolls take place. When I use Direct Fire, I generate a number of Shot Opportunities based on successes. When I make those attacks, then that is the means by which I removed Disposition. That makes sense for me,

1a. How do I know if I have achieved a killing shot to remove disposition? I am going to roll the skill of the shooter, but if that is a grunt against a grunt, then how many dice do I roll? I assume that it comes from my circles and affiliations (i.e. higher affiliation allows me to get better troops), but does that mean before I do a Firefight I have to roll to see if I have my troops, or is it just assumed that I have them and no roll is necessary.

1b. If troop ability is based off the Affiliation, then do I base Mortal Wound on those numbers and compare damage to determine the killing shot to remove disposition?

  1. How do I know how the troops are equipmented (i.e. what weapons and equipment)? do I need to make a Resources test to get them that tech? Is it just color once again and we know because we all agree?

  2. I can see this turning into a lot of rolls for random grunts and the other players being very bored while the owner of those troops rolls them. I assume you could divide those rolls among the players, but on average, when you have played, how many rolls to you see being made?

  3. Would it be appropriate to base disposition lose off of the initial roll for the action (i.e. Tactics or Command), and dump the individual action except for stuff like Medic and Signals.

  4. How am I suppose to track loses of individual troopers. I was looking at the Firefight Scripting sheet, and there really aren’t the means to do that. Have most of you just had a different piece of paper? Is this not something you really track in reality?

  5. How common is it for characters to be broken up into multiple units with troops on their side? Is it just more common for all the characters to be in one unit together?

  6. When it comes to the map, I understand what positions are, but I don’t really understand how they interact with one another. Are positions all interconnected, or are they sometimes choke points? For example, I have five locations, The fortress, the back alleys, cathedral square, main street, and the space port. The group’s objective is to capture the Fortress and they start at the spaceport. Can they just advance right to the fortress bypassing the other positions, or can do they have to advance to individual positions in a chain. For example, the space port would be connected to the Back alleys and cathedral square, then cathedral square connnects to mainstreet. Mainstreet connnects to the backalleys and the Fortress. Finally, the back alleys connect to the spaceport and the fortress. Theoretically, I could make the back alleys very hard to advance into to represent the nature of close quarters fighting, but it is a more direct route to the objective, but if they went through the longer route, it could be an very different kind of fight.

I know this is a lot of questions and nitpicking a bit, but I have a player that loathes mechanics of any kind. He avoids combat like the plague, but I know it will come up sooner or later. In fact, he will probably refuse to learn the rules and just go along with what I tell him. The reason he is playing is because he really likes the setting we have come up with and is into his character. I am still effectively learning the rules, so I don’t want to have him become really frustrated and loose interest. He tends to zone out in combat in games like D&D, so I can’t imagine what he will do in BE. I just want to make sure I have things straight to make the process as smooth as possible, because if it runs smoothly, then he won’t mind combat, but the second we pick up the book to check a rule we loose him.

I already plan on pulling one of the more “tactically” minded players aside to teach him the rules to make it smoother. For those who have played a campaign or two. Any tips or things I should prepare ahead for or be aware of? Any speedbumps that you encountered? Anything as the GM I should expect that I normally wouldn’t encounter in regular RPG’s. Can you recommend some basic “units” to experiment with the system to see how all the mechanics interact?

Thanks for all your help,


This is what worked for us in Prometheus Chained.

1a) You don’t need a killing shot to lose disposition.
(Page 486 - “Incapacitation of a team member from Direct Fire degrades that unit’s disposition by 1.”

You just need to take that trooper, or if you’re dealing with larger numbers, group of troupers, out of the action. Instead of tracking individual health of what I refer to as “red Shirts” or “fodder” or “Nameless chumps” just assume that if you get a success on the shot opportunity, those troops are out of the action, wounded or killed or however you want to color it. If the shot hits, the chumps go down, and the disposition is lost.

(Page 508 - Soldier and the Wingman)

This is not the case if it’s a relationship Player character. However, all relationships and major characters have been burned already, so all his information is available.

Note that there’s a strategy here. Shot opportunities will take down disposition if you decide they hit chumps. But they might not take down disposition if you risk one of the major characters. However, you’re risking major characters, and that could mean that they are turned into red goo.

Personally, I let those chumps take the hits every time. I’d rather lose the battle than lose the war.

(Page 505: Target Selection)

1b) It just seems like too much work. Use the stuff above. If the Trooper isn’t important to have been burned up as a relationship, he’s fodder and should be bloody grease to the gears of war.

  1. A lot of this depends on your traits. If you’re a hammer/Anvil/Forged Lord, then you have that great trait that says “hey, you gots an army that be equipped. Use pages 628-630 for a guide for appropriate weapons.”

If you aren’t, then you’ll need to make circles tests either in the building scene prior to the conflict, or with that hefty penalty during the conflict to rustle up some troops. Troops come with the stuff on Page 628-630, but a failure on that circles test might mean they’re ill equipped, it makes a nice failure situation for them to be low on ammo, or with their armor in for repairs, or something like that.

Circling up troops gets you troops, plus the tools (weapons,armor,communications) that allow those troops to get the job done. The same applies to anyone you circle up, by the way. It’s nonsense to have to circle up a doctor, and then resource up a medical kit for him to do his job. The doctor has his tools to do the job.

  1. It depends on how many successes you get with the direct fire roll to get individual actions. But the rolls are quick if you use the above stuff, one roll per individual action, against whatever obstacle modified by cover and situation. Now, this is unless the targeted player decides to try risking a major character to avoid disposition loss. But then those rolls are fraught with peril, and interesting.

  2. That’d be a rules hack. Try playing it as written, it’s not as bad as it looks. Just make the shot opportunity, success means dispo goes down by one. The guy that gets shot at colors in some troops getting shot or blown up. It’d be the same as making the medic roll. If you have faceless grunts then their whole purpose is to get ground up to hamburger. Roll the dice, narrate some Platoon style senseless slaughter, play some of The Doors “This is the End”, and move on.

  3. Troops without any relationship to the major characters aren’t important. Disposition loss tracks losses of the grunts. There isn’t a place to track your troops because if you don’t have a character sheet already made for an NPC, and a relationship connection to them, they are chumps and not worth keeping track of. Troop losses are color information, to be narrated after combat for survivors and those that died in the field.

  4. I go with one unit most of the time. It’s easier. I did do a split unit once, but that was because one group was in a space combat, and one group was in a simultaneous ground combat. It was needlessly complicated, and I don’t think I’d do it again.

  5. Positions are abstractions. They are simply points that you can occupy to gain position and cover bonuses. Considering that troops can have multiple methods of advancing (ie calling air support, blowing through walls) then connecting the positions is needless overwork. Don’t bother, consider the position difficulty as the method of determining how difficult it is to advance somewhere. Make the fortress a high position rating, so it’s hard to advance to, but worth a lot to occupy.

If these places are connected, then consider the advance as them blazing past all those other places, not stopping there to dig in and fight.

Don’t do connections, that adds complexity that position ratings would accomplish nicely.

I recommend that you get a second player to help out with the mechanics of firefight. They’re actually really fun to run, once you’ve done a couple to get the feel for it. I recommend listening to a few of my maneuvers I podcasted (Look up Prometheus Chained on itunes, or go to the thread on Prometheus Chained on this forum) for an idea of how they generally run, I think there’s a firefight in Maneuver 12 that we just released.

Hope this helps.

Suggestion: play through a couple Firefights! over in the arena. Big big fun. My favorite BE fix when I can’t play BE, which won’t be for a good long while now that we’re deep into Blossoms.

Hell, I’ll even challenge you. slap


Why you!!! It’s on like Donkey Kong… now how do we do this…

Pretty easy. Since you’re the one who wants to learn this stuff, work out a scenario that interests you and that you think will require you touch all the moving parts. I’m plenty fluent in the system so I’ll follow your lead.


Shall I post it here or in the arena?

Arena. Start two threads: Discussion and the actual fight thread. The discussion thread can be where we hash out the terms of the challenge.

You thinking any sort of fight in particular? So far, I’ve done a really nice fight between gravbike-riding punks vs. trained Anvil bodyguards, and started up a Vaylen pirates vs. Hammer space fight that fizzled out. That’s online. Offline, I’ve done a Mad Max-type thing between junk cars and motorcycles, an epic space battle, and an Iron v. Iron fight. Really, the funnest part of the whole deal is coming up with wacky setups that you feel will stretch the limits of the system.


I want to thank Paul for the suggestion of starting something up in arena…but I managed to get a friend over to try out the game. These are the questions that arose:

  1. If the Observe action is failed, does the following Direct Fire simply get ignored. I would assume so, but if the next action in the volley is a verses action against Direct Fire, is the direct fire rolled for the purposes of providing an opposed test or is the action considered independant since the Direct Fire is no longer valid?

  2. To occupy a position, that is ob 2, do you have to meet or exceed the obstacle? In other words… do I need 2 or 3 successes.

  3. If the disposition of a position has been reduced to zero, does that stay at zero? If I move out of the position, does it return to its original level? If I move back into that same terrain, do I get bonus back to my dispostion?

  4. Can FORKS and Wises be used on Ammo checks?

  5. When a character is rolling unskilled in a verses test. If the opposition rolls 4 successes, then does that mean that I have to roll 8 successes?

  6. Where do skill ratings for shot opportunies come from in relation to NPC’s in the unit (i.e. grunts). Are these determined by a Circles test and/or from a trait such as Anvil Lord or Hammer Lord?

  7. Who in a unit can test for things like Observe and similar skills. Can any character or NPC do the test, or is it only the “unit commander”? So if I have troops with rating 5, but my commander has rating 2. I have to roll 2 dice, or can the troops roll with 5 dice?

  8. Supressive Fire vs. Observe… does Supressive Fire stop Observe like it would Direct Fire and similar actions?

  9. When rolling Command and Tactics, what sorts of skills, if any, can be used as FORKs. For example, I had an anvil lord with a unit of tanks. I was having him use Anvil-wise and Strategy as FORKs. Is this legal under the rules.

  10. What effect to extra successes have on a shot opportunity? It had been stated earlier that if it just successfully hits a grunt NPC, then it just lowers Disposition by one, because there is no health to track. So does the type of weapon, its damage, and similar traits have no impact on the hit? Do extra successes only matter on the DoF against characters and otherwise it just drops Disposition?

  11. In our test scenario, there was a fortress with a 5P, 3C rating. The player whose army owned it to engage my unit. Does the “owning” player then have to roll a 5P in order to get back into it? It seems the friendly troops would just let them back in.

  12. With individual troopers who are the signals operator, the support weapons specialist, or the anvil, should they be listed some place for tracking purposes so if they are hit by shot opportunties they can be marked as hit?

  13. On the Close Combat action, do you just remove Disposition or do you move into the smaller Close Combat matrix for all members of the unit? Or, are the close combat actions only used for characters?

  14. In setting objectives, should they be more broad as in “Drive the forged lord out of power” or more specific as in “Occupy the fortress of the Forged Lord”? It seems it would be the later, because then you are forced to reduce the disposition to zero, and the position of the “Fortress” is not an objective, just a position to occupy in trying to “Drive the Forged Lord from Power.”

  15. How can actions from previous manuevers add Firefight? It seems that actions taken could directly effect individual rolls, or is that the sort of thing that provides Superior Weapons, Training, and similar disposition bonuses?

Thanks for all of your help.

  1. Yes. You hesitate. It says it somewhere in there.

  2. In an independent test, your obstacle is one plus the value of the position. For independent tests, meeting your obstacle grants success.

  3. Yeah, it’s value is reduced FOR YOU. The only way to destroy a position in the Demolitions specialist action.

  4. Sure, if they’re weapon- or ammo-oriented.

  5. Yup.

  6. Circles, Anvil/Hammer Lord traits and the GM’s discretion if necessary. See pages 626 and 627!

  7. Anyone with the proper skills in the unit. Your spotter can roll and the commander can help.

  8. They’re independent of one another, so no. Come on!

  9. Yeah, sure. We’re VERY strict with our skill FoRKs at BWHQ and liberal with our wise FoRKs.

  10. If you’re playing a really big battle, then they don’t matter. A hit is a hit. Otherwise, page 516.

  11. Hah hah! Yeah. His impregnable fortress is hard to get into, right?

  12. We track them, but only in fights of less than a dozen guys. More than that should be about the PCs.

  13. Use the individual actions for the PCs. Have a handful of the little guys mob them. Very dangerous!

  14. “Drive the Forged Lord out of power!?” That seems like a phase objective to me. Firefight objectives are battlefield objectives, not political objectives.

  15. Yup, that’s what the dispo modifiers are for. The other night, my players tried to gain the superior position bonus by taking hostages with a close combat builder right before the fight.


  1. So effectively, you should track them separately for each unit? That sounds easy enough.
  1. I discovered last night the Artillery trait for weapons makes supressive fire a verses action for observe.
  1. So that is a yes? :stuck_out_tongue:

4 .I expected as much. So if a position is not suppose to be an objective, as in “Occupy the fortress”, then the Fortress shouldn’t be a position on the battlefield. So should the gate house be a position instead or just move outside of that and look at the city fight that will take place around it?

  1. What if after doing a series of manuevers, the end result of this battle will be the Forged Lord driven from power… then would that be an appropriate objective?

Can you elaborate on “have a handful of little guys mob them” please? How would that be working mechanically?


Oh, yeah. You know, a bunch of enemy soldiers run up to your dude in iron. The GM chooses Overbear for them. They’ve got a skill of 3 and there’s five of them. So that’s 7D to roll for their action. Meanwhile, you could even have their commander choose Weapons Fire and try to shoot your dude. He’d test his own skill.

Meanwhile, you’d choose your own CC action. You can look at the CC table to see how it interacts with the GM’s moves.

  1. Each FF sheet has a place to not the value of your current position. Just keep track of its current value there.

  2. Yes! This advantage is not used nearly enough. You can effectively stop someone from observing you by pounding the living bejeezus out of them! Artie is the ultimate supressor.

  3. :stuck_out_tongue: Yes.

  4. Right. Page 476

  5. What a wussy Forged Lord. The only Forged Lord driven power is a dead Forged Lord. It’s still not acceptable! Battlefield objectives, not political objectives! You can capture him, you can gun him down in the heat of battle, you can destroy his tank division, you can demolish his fortress, but you can change him from Republican to Democrat.

They’ve got a skill of 3 and there’s five of them. So that’s 7D to roll for their action.

So you get a +1D for every extra guy piling on. Nice.

you can’t change him from Republican to Democrat.

More’s the pity.

It’s just using the standard helping rules. Nothing special!

Yowzers! Time to burn up some Close-In-Defense-Weapons into my Anvil Lord’s personal Iron!

Anti-Personnel Mines, Iron-Mounted:
Concept: Twin clamore mines, one mounted on each shoulder
Device: Advantage-Skill: +3D to Close Combat
Trait Requirement: Only mountable on Iron
Categorical Limitation: One shot.
Categorical Limitation: only versus Overbear CC attacks.
Tech Trait points: 7pts -3 -1 -1: 2pts.

Anti-Personnel Electroshock-Skin:
Concept: high-amperage capacitors and conductive webbing built into the Iron’s skin
Device: Obstacle: +4Ob to (opponents’) Close Combat
Trait Requirement: Only mountable on Iron
Categorical Limitation: only versus Overbear CC attacks.
Tech Trait points: 5pts -3 -1: 1pt!

(Did I burn those up right?)

It’s just using the standard helping rules. Nothing special!

My company of 100 Exponent-3 Ksatriyen swarms the 10-man Anvil squad, each Anvil trooper having 12 dice thown at him. At some point the GM has to cap all that “help”, no? Or do I just shrug and start humming the tune to Aliens while my players prepare to swarm me?


You seem so mild-mannered in person, Moeller! You’re a troublemaker, though!

Yes, there can be limits imposed. GM’s job to set up situations like that – it’s likely that not all of the little beasties are going to be evenly distributed and on the ball.

Though I do kind of like the threat of the Close Combat of DOOM from an otherwise useless group of Vaylen soldiers.

I’m only mild-mannered until the glasses come off, I loosen my tie and strip down to my underwear.