That Stubborn old Help-During-Firefights question

Luke wrote this in the Knife Fight thread (the second one) in the arena, and it still confuses me. Per has three ships with, say, 5 guys each in them. I have one ship with, say 15 guys in it.

Do we have the same number of helping dice available? If so, what’s the maximum number of helping dice available (assuming all fifteen guys have applicable skills)?


I knew you were going to catch that! I’m ready for you this time.

It’s not just about bodies.

During Contact, Per will have 3 times as much sensors and sensors ops that you – one set for each ship. They can all help each other spot you.

During individual actions for maneuvers, Per will have three pilots to tap for tests and help, you’ll have one.

Those are just two examples. Helping dice are not universal. They’re conditional. So even if you have the same amount of crew on your side, Per’s going to have the conditional opportunity to apply more pressure in certain areas.

Of course, even with three ships on his side, you still outgun him. You could eliminate his entire wing in one volley of fire.* That should keep you warm at night.

*He can hurt you bad with three direct Superb hits, but he can’t destroy you. Just knock you out of action.

Excellent. Thanks for the explanation, Luke. I’m not scared. My boys are prepared this time out. I’m just outfitting my ship atm. The Blast trait smells mighty good to me.


I seem to recall reading somewhere (A forumite question I believe) that only the units 2nd in command could really grant helping dice for the Unit actions.

Are you saying that the entire group of ships can help? What is the ruling that prevents the 2nd in commands of each ship to provide helping dice? (help-dice pyramid!)

In this case things are rather clear cut (1 player vs another) but what if a single unit actually consisted of 3 players with their own supportive cast?

I’ve spent some time mulling over this, and the answer is fairly straightforward.

How many can provide helping dice? As many as can provide a reason to provide to make a relative difference.

In other words; If a player can describe the helping character aiding the task in a way which makes a relevant difference. He can help.

If (s)he cannot, he still participates. But does not add any dice to the total pool.

Example A
A group of characters are attempting to sneak into a religious ghetto. Security consists only of human (ie:failable) guards with only simple helping gear. (Light amplification units) And is essentially Low.

This calls for a Stealthy check (or is it Recon in BE? I forget)

GM being fiendish tasks the Ironlord socialite (wigged and all) to lead. (being the weakest link)
There are 4 characters all together. The mentioned Ironlord, his Kerrn bodyguard, an annointe Priest of the wheel (cotar?), and the self-sufficient commoner (a rising star) the one who originally found evidence of the valyen infiltration.

Ironlord: 4 Agi
Kerrn: 5 Stealthy: Described as scouting ahead of the team. +2 Dice
Priest: Despite having stealthy opened (former military) he fails to describe a relevant difference. ie: not helping. He’s also on the look out.
Idealistic farmboy: 3 Stealthy. Described as sighing and helping the courtier strap his finery proper. Relevant difference. +1 Dice.

This prevents the endless helpdice stacking.

Example B
3 Ships in space making an observation roll.

Unless each of the three ships are being described as ‘scanning’ nominaly (and relevantly) different location. They are simply not making a difference compared to each other.

Relationships, Subordinates and Help on Page 345 describes this rule.