Friday, March 10, 2017

Fighting the White Apes - A Combat Example

I wrote a post a while back about the Great White Apes of Barsoom, and how dangerous they are. But was I right?  I decided to find out. 
Yeah, that guy's probably doomed.
Meet Graham Clark, a PC of mine. Age 30, UPP B98885. He's an ex-army recon specialist (Recon-4). I take Recon to be related to Hunting, so I'll give him Hunting-3. He's hunting White Apes, armed with a Gauss LAG, which I recall finding at Freelance Traveller.  The G-LAG does 6D damage. (Note: I ignore +DMs versus armor on the tables, reading them as 0).

White Apes:
1600kg 8D/3D [28/10]  Claws/teeth  (+4 to hit due to size) Dmg 6D+2 
Armor: Mesh  A2 F8 S3  2 attacks/round   Number appearing: 1D

Encounter 1: Range medium, no surprise. Graham fires, the ape charges. Graham hits, wounds but does not down the ape, the ape closes to short range (speed:3, remember?) and kills him with one blow. Stats down to 001. Graham is unconscious, and the ape will tear him apart in round 2.


Encounter 2: Range long, 5 range bands, no surprise. Round one: Graham fires, the ape charges. Graham hits and wounds the ape. It continues to charge. Round two: Graham fires again, but still cannot drop the ape (low damage roll). Ape makes short range, attacks with claws, hits. Graham's stats are 008. He's dead.


Encounter 3: Range long, 10 range bands. Graham has surprise but attacks anyway. Round one: Graham fires, hits. Wounds the ape, which charges. Round two: range now 7 bands, ape charging. Graham fires again, hits again. This time his damage rolls are higher. The ape crumples while still 150m distant. Graham survives.

The G-LAG does 6D damage. The probability graph at says that 6D6 has only a 6.08% chance of doing enough damage in one shot to stop the White Ape. He needs more than one shot, which as we have seen, he may not get.
Now what if he had only a conventional ACR with DS rounds? That's only 3D damage. Clearly, if a 6D heavy gun can't down one of these things quickly then the lighter ACR can't either. But the ACR has auto-fire. Bk4 says (p. 31-32) that auto-fire weapons can roll twice each round for a hit. Assuming both are hits, AnyDice says the odds are no better. Graham's full DM to hit is +3, 1 for skill 2 for range. He needs to roll a 5 or better for each hit, at 83% for 69% probability. Not great, but not terrible.

Let's move up a class and say Graham is firing an LMG. Again, only a 3D weapon, but Bk4 allows LMGs to roll three times in a round. Assuming all three throws succeed, (91% likely) then the LMG can throw 9D for damage. Odds of taking out the White Ape at Medium range, in one burst? 77.96%

Even with a full-auto weapon there's still a 22% chance that beast will be able to close the distance and kill your PC with one blow. Furthermore, you will note that White Apes travel in packs of 1-6. Even the LMG wouldn't help much if he encountered three of them at once. The group hits rule imposes a -3 DM which lowers his chances of hitting secondary targets. Graham has a 38% chance of triple-hitting each of the other two. Then he still has to hit hard enough to stop all three.

Yes, I was right. White Apes are incredibly dangerous. The referee should help the players recognize the danger level presented by animal encounters.

Photo credit:Flickr


  1. Forget the DS rounds for the ACR HE is your choice....

  2. If you find yourself on a world with something like this around, carry multiple large weapons.

    They is nasty.

  3. Interesting example. I have tended to use a variant of striker in the past for Trav combats. I am reviving a hybrid Classic/Mongoose Trav campaign so when I finish writing up how my striker variant worked this will make a good example. First with classic style (snapshot) combat, then striker (azhanti high lightning) style. Somehow I think that in a ruin, a starship, in buildings - unless the PCs are *very* well equipped, they'd be toast.

    Thanks for the worked example - quite scary!

  4. Holy guacamole! If ever there was a reason for civilian ownership of the FGMP-15 the white ape is it!

    I really need spend some time with the LBB:3 Animal tables again. It's another place where a huge amount of adventure can flow from a few die rolls.

    Thanks for the post, the blog, and inspiration, Mr. Weaver!