Units, Dispo/Contact Bonuses, Shots of opportunity

In a post over here, I stumbled through a firefight in the Fires over Omac scenario. I have some bolded questions I’d like some people to take a crack at answering. I appreciate any and all suggestions and advice.

I tried following the twelve step process, but stumbled really early on, when told to create units.

Now, General Leaf’s assets consisted of Meerkat (his Eltee) Julius, Lucacz (Julius’ Anvil Elite), Jack, Shvi (Jack’s Pilot), Fazia Grizzly, a squad of Iron, a squad of Anvil, and 15 unskilled Kerrn miners.

The Kerrn are armed with heavy assault rifles. Everyone else has the regular variety of assault rifle. Jack uses a Stet gun. No lasers, fusors, SCrEWs, they can’t be used on the surface of Omac due to the risk of blowing up the planet.

On my side, I had the Warden, his security Chief (exponent 4), his Mukhadish, as well as a group of prison guards I rather desperately circled up at the beginning of conflict. I armed them with regular assault rifles as well, the Warden used a Stet gun.

1. How do I split these into units?

It made sense that since Julius, Leaf and Fazia all had experience with leading, they would make ideal leaders of a unit. Plus, ideally it would give the other players something to do when this was going on. But the multiple units rules made me choose instead to have them all in one big unit, led by Leaf. I think this was a mistake, in retrospect.

When we stated objectives, General Leaf wanted a small book on what he wanted to do, capture the prison, secure the Warden’s Cache of goods (Jack’s payment), free the prisoners, Kill the Warden. I had one: Capture General Leaf. I realize now that this was a mistake, but I’m wondering how to gain more than one objective. 2. If there are more units, can they accomplish their own objectives?

In a previous building scene, Leaf and his men tunnelled beneath the prison complex, as a means of gaining the element of surprise. However, we didn’t discuss what “surprise” meant in terms of mechanical assistance for the Firefight. 3. Could this be a bonus to the contact roll? Or could it be used to add a bonus to disposition?

When we made the disposition roll, Leaf was assisted by Julius. The Warden handed control over to his security chief, and he rolled his Exp 4 Command without any assistance.

4. Could I have added the Warden’s Prison Wise as helping dice? Can Wises be used as help for the disposition?

Now, since I have a pathological fear of drawing maps, I got Ross to draw me a brief map of the prison. I asked him to just note the relevant areas, so we focused on the Breaching tunnel, the Armory, the Cell block, the Command center, the Guard towers and the Infirmary.

5. If both sides tie the Contact test, are both considered losers and only able to add 1p to the battle space?

I used my GM position modifier to add 3 to the Infirmary, as I figured it would be difficult to get into. I considered adding it to the armory or cells, but I figured that wasn’t quite as important to the Warden.

I added cover modifiers, and even asked the players for suggestions on this. Armory was given 1 cover, the guard towers 2, the cell block 1, the tunnels 1, the Infirmary 1. They wanted to give the tunnels 2, but I ruled it was a hole in the ground, not a fortified location like the towers.

We moved on to initial positioning. I put my group in the command center, and Leaf’s group started in the Hole. That made fairly logical sense.

I scripted Advance, Observe, Direct Fire. The plan was to advance to the Infirmary (with it’s disposition bonus), get off the observe and open fire.

Leaf scripted the exact same thing. Advance, Observe, Direct Fire.

I rolled for advance, using the Security officer’s 4 dice with Prison-Wise helping from the Warden. And failed. I couldn’t get into my own Infirmary!

Leaf’s advance was helped by so very many people. 6. Is there a limit to how many people can help a roll? Can Advance be helped? Julius, Meerkat, Fazia, Lucacz, all tossed dice into his hands, resulting in a thunderous clatter. He advanced into the command center with dice to spare, and I lost a bunch of disposition. They were kicking my ass just walking around!

The Observes were independant, and happily I made that particular test, again I used the Warden’s useful Prison-Wise as help. Leaf also succeeded.
7. Does Cover add to Observation tests?

And then came the Direct Fire. 8. Can Direct Fire’s Command roll be given helping dice? Leaf gained a pile of helping dice, and he didn’t really need it. I didn’t even make the Ob 2 test, and he got something like 9 successes.

Here’s where we get to where things screeched to a halt. Leaf needed 3 successes. He got 9, so that would be 7 shot opportunities or specialist actions. (6 successes plus meeting the obstacle)

And I had no idea what to do with that. [b]9. What would we do next?

[/b]I eventually just hand waved the conflict as Leaf winning and his team cutting down the other group. It was both getting late and people were getting frustrated.

I appreciate the assistance, everyone. I like what I see with Firefight, but it just looks scarily complicated right now.

  1. How do I split these into units?

I would have asked the players to decide how to divide their own forces. Given that they had so many objectives, it would have been appropriate for each unit to have one objective and their own dispositions. This would have helped you in force your own objective (you didn’t care about the prison, or for that matter the guards). You could have focused your forces on General Leaf’s units to gain a compromise, or even quick victory.

But I don’t blame you for keeping each side as one unit, multi unit firefights are a bit daunting for a first use of the firefight rules.

Regarding the outcome its not suprizing - Lets face it an assault on prison guards by an organized force of Iron and Anvil - I’d bet on the Iron & Anvil.

Hi Jon,

Hope you don’t mind that I went back in and numbered the questions. Makes it easier from my side.

1 and 2. For demos, you really want to keep the players in one unit. You did the right thing there. But for games in which you’re more comfortable with FF, you can divide into multiple units each with an individual objective. I see two units there: the Kerrn lead by Griz, Leaf and Jack plus their respective 2iCs and the Anvil and Iron lead by Julius and his 2iC.

  1. Could be either! Could be a linked test to contact, a linked test to the officer’s roll or a case for Superior Position or Right Tools. That should have been decided at the time the tunnel was made (and tested for).

  2. Wises can help the Officer’s Roll, but they’ve got to be directly applicable.

  3. Yah, good one. It’s a tie, no winners. So loser rules apply!

  4. Technically, only the designated second in command for the Firefight can add helping dice to the unit rolls. This is one that, for demos, I bend in the name of participation.

  5. No

  6. Yes, but the designated unit second in command if he can give you help from Tactics, Command or an appropriate and applicable wise.

  7. Gah! You shoot, man! SHOOT! FIRE! That’s at least seven shots. Each character who Leaf gives a shot opportunity to gets to test his weapon skill against Ob 2 plus the value of any cover the target is behind. If you hit and drop your opponent, subtract 1 from the opposing disposition.

That’s a start. Ask more questions and I shall provide more answers.


Numbered questions were a good plan. In retrospect, that should have been the way to do it in the first place! Thank you, by the way, for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate yours and everyone else’s help!

Let me parse this out and tell me if I’m getting this. Seven successes equal seven people getting a chance to shoot. If there are less than seven people, then excess successes become advantage dice that can be handed out to people.

1. Does Leaf decide who gets the advantage dice, if any?
2. Can Leaf pick himself to get a shot opportunity?

ok, so this means a CHANCE to hit someone. The person tapped by Leaf makes their roll, and hit the obstacle. If they exceed it they gain a DOF bonus. They roll DOF and determine weapon damage. Damage is applied, and if it downs an opponent (or injures some nameless NPC) disposition is reduced by one. This repeats for seven more people.

3. When in that sequence of events does the other side pick a target for the shot opportunity?

  1. Of course.
  2. Only if everyone else has got a shot opportunity from this Direct Fire.
  3. Before the shooting player rolls to hit.

This is all in the book. I don’t have BE with me at the moment, though.

Anyone want to help out with some page number refs for these answers?

These are all on pages 485-486 (Success Allocation and Individual Action for Direct Fire)

This just jumped out at me so I went back and checked the rules. You don’t actually ever specify that only the second in command can add helping dice to the unit rolls. Or…maybe it does but I sure can’t find it anywhere! I’m looking on p. 481, under “Help for Unit Actions.” It sez:

No mention of limits. THAT SAID I agree wholeheartedly that limiting the help to the commander’s second is probably a good idea (except in a unit comprised entirely of PCs, in which case I’d probably let 'em all toss dice in).

Is this errata or did I (again!) overlook something vital?



Play it as written for now, but on page 471 I do say that only one character can help with the dispo roll.


Yeah, I saw that too! But since it appeared in the context of setting dispo, I assumed that’s as far as it went. Is limiting help to the unit leader’s designated second-in-command your design intent? Or was it to simply limit help on any given roll to one other character?

The reason I stumbled into this is because I’m building a soup-to-nuts cheat sheet for firefight (kind of like the end-of-maneuver cheat sheet I did last week). Mostly it’s for my own edification. When I go through and “rewrite” rules in a comprehensive checklist kind of way, I a) learn them really well and b) uncover all kinds of interesting quirks and holes.

I’ll post when I’m done (later today or tomorrow I think). Whichever your intent is, is how I’ll note it in the cheat sheet (with some kind of “abzu seal of approval” asterisk).



As written. Always, always, always as written.

Okay, last question on this topic!

Some of the FF actions designate you can receive help from “pilot/helm/driver”. Am I reading it right that as a restriction, that the only help available for those actions (advance, flank, maybe withdraw? I can’t remember) is explicitly restricted to pilot/driver/helm dice, and that for all other actions regular help rules apply?