Sunday, July 7, 2024

Abstract Combat - Battle at PetroPlas!

 My son's Mercenary outfit got its first big battle yesterday.

On the war-torn banana republic world of Faldor, the Wolfpack is protecting a town. The populace are called the Gath, genetically modified Very Tall humans. Many of them work in a factory for a company called PetroPlas (guess what they make?)

Earlier, the Wolfpack had tangled with a local Armed Group called the People's Popular Development Front. The PPDF attacked the factory to gain control of resources and a labor supply.

The Pack sprang into action to defend the factory and the Gath from town.

I have written before about the Abstract Battle system in Book 4, Mercenary. It works fine for streamlining large battles. I have added on a few factors, nothing changing the mini-game, elaborating a bit.

Manpower is the key value, and their weapons/armor/gear is all folded into the Equipment Tech Level.

A unit, whether PC or NPC, squad or Battalion needs to note only a few things:

Manpower and the 'preservation level'. Preservation is the point at which casualties cause the unit to surrender or withdraw. I decided that the NPCs who hit this level will surrender on a 1-3, and flee on a 4-6.

Unit Efficiency is a comparative value. This affects the nature of any round of an engagement. Are the PC forces attacking, defending, surprised? The Referee determines this by a die throw, modified by size and efficiency ratings.

Tech Level of their loadout. This is a static value, and compared against the opposing forces' TL. Advantage to the side with higher TL gear.

Mission: is this unit committed to attacking an enemy force? Defending a position? Conducting a commando raid? This also influences the resolution of a battle round.

This information fits in a box on a sheet of paper, like this:

I sketched out a map, using a Point-map format to show the important locations on the battlefield. Units can be counters or minis, and scale of the drawing is not important. I drew lines connecting some of the locations. Some of these could be crossed in one round while a few would take two rounds to traverse. A unit at a Point could engage any enemy units at that same Point or maneuver away.

The battle lasted six or seven rounds. The Wolfpack had kitted out on Stavanger which is TL 12, while the PPDF had only TL 10 gear. That was a big advantage to the Wolves. They rarely took 10% casualties in a round, and sometimes took none at all (well, ok, 1%). Despite facing about 2-to-1 odds, the Wolves swept the field of the PPDF forces. See the sketch map below. The Wolfpack's teams are in Light Blue, the PPDF squads are in Dark Blue. PetroPlas had a few security forces, also in Light Blue I through IV.

The group on the right fled the field, the group on the left surrendered. It was a rout for the Wolfpack, and the threat of the PPDF has been neutralized.

There's a few weeks left on the Wolves' contract on Faldor, but they can breathe easier with one less wild card faction on the prowl.

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