Monday 15 June 2020

June 2020 Extra: Air Combat Playtest

Couple of days before the writing of this post (and around a couple of weeks before it goes live), I did a playtest via Roll20 of Frozen Skies' air combat rules against the backdrop of the launch of SpaceX. It was nice getting back to playing Savage Worlds properly (admittedly in a virtual setting) and a chance to see how well the air combat rules worked. Cannot say whether the virtual format aided or impeded things, though things seemed to go well enough.

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The Setup

Since I only had couple of players from my regular group, went with a couple of player controlled Kestrel fighters going up against a Wild Card Ace in a Kestrel with couple of Wingmen Extras flying Trodai/Warrior fighters. Single character sheet was used for the skills/rolls and aircraft stats and the rules were there as Handouts for the players to read and reference.

The Playtest

Started things by walking through the rules for Savage Worlds (as one of the players hadn't played the system before) and then the air combat rules (though interrupted by the SpaceX launch). Once everything had been explained and the players seemed happy with everything, I setup the combat. Placed the aircraft of the two players on one side, then put the three enemy aircraft round 15 hex squares away facing the players.

Went through three rounds of combat, which was a pretty close thing and I'd expected the NPCs to claim victory but then my notoriously bad dice rolls kicked in. Ended up having at least a good dozen or so failed Out of Control rolls, though realised now that everyone had the Ace Edge and thus could've ignored couple of points of penalties. D'oh!

In the end the players emerged victorious, even though one of their planes took couple of Wounds in the process. The enemy Ace got shot down first after his aircraft took an absolute mauling, the two Wingmen sharing his fate soon afterwards.


The players agreed that the rules seemed pretty solid and I am even more convinced that a hex grid is the way forwards. However, there were some points that were brought up.

*The Wingmen's aircraft I ran as being just like normal Extras in Savage Worlds, basically they only had a single Wound. I'd done this to help speed up combat based on experiences in previous playtests, though the players suggested perhaps increasing the number of Wounds to give them a little bit of staying power. So I'm thinking of having a base of a single Wound but increasing this based on Size of the aircraft, thus two Wounds for a Large aircraft and three for a Huge one.

*Weapon arcs was something that was brought up by one of the players (the planes only had forward firing weapons). Though once I'd pointed out that it was possible to have backward firing guns and even turrets, explaining how those worked, he seemed satisfied.

*Manoeuvrers was bit of an interesting one, chiefly when they can be done. Suppose this can be addressed by stating when each one can be done.

Though a second d'oh! is that I've just realised/learnt that Out of Control rolls are only on a Critical Failure or in certain situations.

Monday 1 June 2020

June 2020: CWS: The Bratty Man Cometh

Recently came across something rather interesting and being a while since I last did a Cold War Skirmishes post, it is something too good not to post. If things go to plan, this is likely to be the first of two posts this month, the second post will be a write-up of a playtest of Frozen Skies' air combat rules and should be expected some point round the 15th June. Also, if you wish to support me or get access to new posts ahead of the crowd then please consider checking out my Patreon.

Wolfgang The Bratty Man: A Legend Of The Cold War

Picture the scene.

You're a British soldier stationed in Germany and part way through a field exercise on the Soltau Training Area. You're cold, tired and sick of ration packs when all of a sudden a blue Mercedes van appears like magic through the smoke of a mock battle. Angry shouts are elicited from the NCOs as you and your fellow soldiers run off to buy hot chips, bratwursts, burgers and cold beer.

Wolfgang Meier, a legend amongst British soldiers based in north Germany, had arrived.

Wolfgang had a semi-mythical ability to manoeuvre his van across seemingly impassible terrain to bring his wares to hungry armour crews (who were then often obliged to tow the van out when it got stuck). His knowledge of exercise plans and the local terrain was also legendary, and he often knew where units were headed before they even received their movement orders – some observed that if he wasn’t an East German spy, he should have been.

For more than two decades his van could appear at any time of day, even in the middle of a live military training exercise narrowly missing grenades. During the '70s and '80s he was an instant morale booster whenever he appeared, his uncanny knowledge of where units were helped more than one lost soldier.

And end of an era came to end in 1994 when Wolfgang's fast food van completed it's last mission and the man himself brought himself a camp site with the money he'd made.

Use In Games

Wolfgang could potentially be an interesting and useful NPC for a GM to use, serving at least as a friendly face for the characters to encounter. He's best played turning up out of the blue, either as a Travel Encounter or when the GM feels the time is right. The GM could have Wolfgang serve as a source of information, letting the characters know where their parent unit is or where enemy forces are. Additionally, Wolfgang could help them out by giving them a lift or beseech the characters for help in rescuing his family.

Wolfgang Meier

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Athletics d6, Common Knowledge d8, Driving d8, Language (Native) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d10, Stealth d4
Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Loyal, Mild Mannered, Pacifist (minor), Quirk
Edges: Ace, Alertness, Charismatic, Danger Sense, Reliable, Streetwise, Strong Willed