Author Topic: Suppression Fire  (Read 4747 times)

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Offline Clark

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Suppression Fire
« on: April 10, 2011, 06:35:38 PM »
As a sibling post to Leadership, the other complex rule (at least in the basic rules of engagement) is suppression.

As any of the military guys can confirm, the advantage of a machine gun (or automatic rifle like the C2) is not in its actual rate of fire.  For instance, the C9 (M249) actually has a lower rate of fire than the C7 (M16A2).  In game terms we tend to juice the support weapons to make them more dangerous.  The thing is, if you were to run into an enemy on the fly in a complex of twisting corridors, you would actually want the lighter rather than the heavier weapon.  The advantage of a machine gun is its effective rate of fire and sustained rate of fire. Back in the days when some sods had bolt action rifles or semi-automatics, then the distinction between an ROF 1 weapon and ROF 2 could be easily supported.  But the reality of modern warfare is that every soldier carries an automatic weapon.

My point is that the Heavy RAM Laser and Heavy Deadbolt Launcher are more than simply two weapons strapped together, and a C9 is not simply a C7 that kills twice as many bad guys. An infanteer turned engineer pointed out to me: automatic rifles are point weapons, machine guns attack an area.  The 30 rounds a C2 had were simply insufficient to attack an area.  A true machine gun with hundreds of rounds at the ready can lay down a spindle-shaped beaten zone, which is particularly effective in enfilade fire (attacking from the flank).

So here are some suggestions that I toss into the ring.

1) Machine gun type weapons will always autofire but with no penalty.

2) Machine gun weapons do not suppress a single row of square but rather multiple rows of squares, generally 3 or 5 wide.

3) Machine gun weapons can spread fire more effectively, only losing a die for each two or three squares between targets.

Setting aside machine guns, there are a couple of other mechanical questions.

I think we should dispense with the modifiers for the target and intervening squares.

The rules for blocked and unblocked suppression should be reworked to prevent various possible abuses.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2011, 06:45:24 PM by Clark »

Offline Clark

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2011, 06:59:29 PM »
The other thing that we may not have to deal with now is the interaction with the pinning rules.  To my mind, suppression fire will generate more pins than regular fire.

Offline sergeant_hastp

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2011, 07:54:13 PM »
I think for an indoor-based engagement, the machinegun type weapons are represented pretty well.  In that case it's the high rate of fire that makes them effective, not precise, but saturation.

Maybe something like the K-pulse grenade effect when it fires, every time: 'X' chance to kill the main, central target. 'X'-1 to kill adjacent targets.



It's when you get to 'outdoor' engagments that the effects like beaten zone start to appear, where you can attack everyone in that long zone more or less equally.

Offline Dave Chase

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2011, 08:32:34 PM »
If using morale rules in Planetstorm, why not have the addition effect that morale of a soldier ordered to move into a suppression area is effected negatively equal to the ROF of the said weapon causing the suppression zone.

Dave Chase
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Arfiel

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 09:54:44 PM »
I remember the indoor suppression working better and being more effective than in the outdoor system.
Now having said that I sure wish i could play a few games to get a feel for the rules again.

Offline YojimboUsaka

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2011, 05:09:59 AM »
Couple of possible ways to go with this.

1.  If you want to model the high ammo consumption rather than high rate of fire you can spend extra ammo to increase the suppression zone.  4 ammo for normal suppression (equals the ROF of the weapon), 8 for double the ROF and 16 for triple the ROF.  A heavy flechette gunner going full out (X3) will be covering 9 squares/inches but dumping a hell of a lot of ammor (16).  Vehicle and static mounted weapons with large ammo capacity will be very deadly.  Ammo based weapons would have an advantage over heat and energy based ones in this regards which is a good thing in my humble opinion.  Different weapons should be better at different things.

2.  The area of effect , secondary fire in all adjacent squares would leave some odd issues.  Still need to trace line of sight to the target I would assume.  What about the targets between the firer and the target square?  I might not be understanding the intent on this one.

Morale/Stress - The way I handled it is that every time a figure spent movement or actions in or adjacent to a square being suppressed they tested for stress for each ROF in that square.  Keeping someones head down even if they were hiding around a corner became a viable tactic as targets under heavy suppression tended to not move much as to avoid all the extra stress.

Charles
(pardon the lack of posts lately please.  Something to do with earthquakes, tidal waves and nuclear meltdowns here in Northern Japan keeping us a tad busy as of late.)

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2011, 05:50:20 AM »
I'd keep any extra ammo-tracking out of the basic rules. Nobody likes to track ammo. The suppression rules seemed to work OK, although I'm a little fuzzy on them now. Perhaps non-machine-gun weapons simply don't get the option of subsequent suppression? They get one turn then they have to do something else?

In some systems, the primary effect of suppression fire is to instantly force a morale check. Perhaps with pinning rules in play suppression fire gets to roll again and pin on a 6 regardless? Perhaps it pins on one less than a normal pin, for example, if under the old rule a roll of 6 kills and 5 pins, NEW suppressive fire kills on a 6 and pins on a 5 or 4?

Offline Clark

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 08:14:49 AM »
Pinning is a whole other barrel of monkies, as is morale.  I don't think either fit into the indoor game.  I'll start separate threads at one point to discuss them but a few comments while we are touching on the subject:

I viewed pinning as a physical effect rather than a morale effect.  To expose yourself, you would have to pass a morale check, and getting pinned might trigger a morale check rather than the other way around. Fail your morale check and you blow your fire action, which means you can't unpin yourself.

Suppression fire should cause more pinning than regular fire IMO.

I think morale should be switched to a straight line rather than using the 3d6 bell curve because failed checks are so uncommon using the latter.

Ideally, pinning and wounding would be covered by the same mechanism so that they are not mutually exclusive.

Offline Clark

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 09:07:07 AM »
For your typical weapon, suppression fire is long burst followed by sporadic bursts; it's not a six-second long blaze of gunfire.  An assault rifle could empty its magazine in about 2 seconds that way and then overheat the barrel if you reloaded and did it again.  However, a true machinegun has a heavier barrel that allows for sustained fire.  Perhaps they should get double dice on suppression (ie.  Autofire suppression).

Offline sergeant_hastp

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2011, 01:58:16 PM »
Does not even have to be bursts.

Once you 'win the firefight' and have the target 'pinned' or behind cover, then you only need a single round to pass near that location every couple seconds at random intervals.  More than one shooter staggering the rounds they fire just makes it even more effective.

The target has to *know* that if he pops his head up, there is a better than even chance it is going to coincide with the moment a passing round is assuming the right-of-way.

Offline bobloblah

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2011, 03:19:14 PM »
I remember the indoor suppression working better and being more effective than in the outdoor system.
Now having said that I sure wish i could play a few games to get a feel for the rules again.

Just to stress a point that Arfiel made: the rules for Surpression indoors (i.e. in Legions of Steel) worked pretty well; I think it's a mistake to mess with rules that work well, no matter how good the intentions.

Surpression outdoors (i.e. Planetstorm) is another story...it wasn't bad, by any means, but the results never quite felt satisfactory. I've been thinking about that and how other games have handled this kind of thing. I don't think that many other games (that I've played) have done anything quite like Surpression, but there are some similar things. Off the top of my head, those that did:

  • Vor used to do a template attack (a rectangle) preferentially targetting opponents closer to the shooter. That was an attack, not a deterrant (other than the implied threat), though. I mention it only because the template idea is slightly similar to Planetstorm's band the width of the surpressing weapon's ROF
  • Heavy Gear (the earlier version, not the newer Blitz! version) used to have Saturation Fire, which was more directly analagous to Planetstorm's Surpression. You dedicated a certain amount of ROF to it, worked out an area of effect, then attacked all figures currently in that area, or passing through before the start of your next turn. It used more ammo, was limited to medium range, and I don't recall any rules for hitting intervening targets.

What if Planetstorm based it's Surpression off of a calculated area (similar to the Heavy Gear example), placed that at a given range bracket, then attacked anything in a "cone" formed by the area template (a circle) and imaginary lines between the edges of the template and the shooter? See below:

Shooter}<0

Anything under the zero or inside the less-than symbol is attacked.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 04:13:21 PM by bobloblah »
Best Regards,
Bobloblah

Arfiel

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2011, 04:35:26 PM »
I agree. In the outdoor system it was easy to avoid a suppressed area.

Offline Clark

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 08:06:28 PM »
I had come up with the idea of Panic Fire - or Spray and Pray - which is basically emptying your magazine into your front arc out to a range of 15". The following turn you had to reload. Somewhat different than suppression.

In tabletop you have it easier to calculate strange angles and such so the template plus cone approach might work.

In other games you have heavy weapons that can only fire if they don't move. What I was thinking is that support weapons fire normally if you move but you get an increased rate of fire if you don't including for suppression. And if you blow a fire action to "set" (pop the bipod and hunker down) you can lay down some sick suppression, like the template plus cone.

Or why not simply make it a cone? Your ROF gets divided by the width where the target is standing. Less than a full die is one die at -1. Less than half a die is one die at -2

A UNE Flechette gun has an ROF of 3. Say we double that for suppression to 6. Your gunner could hose down a cone 30" long with a base a full 12" wide. Everything within 15" would be attacked at 5+ and everything between 15"'and 30" would be attacked at 6+. From 30" to 45" would be 8+ because you are now at long range with less than half a die, but at its terminus the base of your cone would be 18" wide(!).

The maximum width of your base would be 150% of the range (ie. your entire front arc) or otherwise:
ROF at XX
2xROF at X
4xROF at L or closer

A ZSU can suppress its entire front arc to a range of 10" or so.


Arfiel

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2011, 08:31:15 PM »
you could also look at giving figures that are covering an earlier fire action.

Offline Clark

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Re: Suppression Fire
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2011, 11:19:10 PM »
you could also look at giving figures that are covering an earlier fire action.

Covering can interupt new suppression but not suppression already laid.

Changing that allows you to cover and then use leadership to walk into the suppression but fire first.  I don't think so.