In the equipment section, it says that e.g. a security team counts as an Advantage rather than a group of individual NPC characters. While this is a great and fast abstraction, I wonder how this Advantage would come into play in combat. What would you say?
- Does it reduce the Difficulty of attacks?
- Does it increase the Difficulty of enemy attacks?
How do you handle something like this?
I’d say a little from column A a little from column B. I take the more nebulous aspects of the game as Blank Check to tell a good story. Do what the situation warrants.
Regardless of the book, I’ve been treating it as temporary access to non-controlled crew support which doesn’t count against the ship, to a max of one security officer providing an assist die to each player character. In essence, this reduces difficulty by increasing chances of success. Depending on the situation, the advantage runs with either an escalation or an opportunity cost for each security officer employed. (Still a bargain, as for 1 momentum, you get a bonus d20 for every roll until the security officer suffers an injury…)
Of course, they’re still minor NPCs, so that bonus d20 can be a bit fragile depending on the situation.
Any place where the rules aren’t clear, or where you think they fail to reflect story elements the way you and your group think is appropriate, it’s always an option to modify.
As well as allowing a PC to decrease the Difficulty of certain combat checks, I’ve also allowed my players to use Security Team Advantage to do things like allow PCs to do things like Tasks to create areas of suppressing fire for enemy NPCs to deal with, generally things that a single character wouldn’t be able to do alone.
To quote an old quiz show, “the clue is in the question”. The team is an advantage, so it can do anything you can do with an advantage. As some examples, based on shooting en-masse: you could use it to ease a task (making it more likely for a PC to hit), make an opponent’s task more difficult (he’s trying to shoot back but has to keep ducking back into cover), enable a task otherwise impossible (covering fire enables a PC to cross a killzone), prevent an opponent’s task (can’t repair a shuttle if it’s constantly being shot at). There are many other options: security can prevent an NPC fleeing if they’re holding onto him…
I do find this to be a very elegant way of dealing with the additional personnel without the need for a ridiculous amount of npc turns in a round.
Nice to see someone consider those possibilities, rather than defaulting to +/-1 difficulty. Narrative permissions are, in my opinion, a much more interesting part of Advantages and Complications.
Yeah, I took careful note of those elements from the playtest discussions - it is so easy to default to the die bonus, but the advantage system is so much more flexible.
We made heavy use of the security team in a hostage scenario: they were able to pin down the bad guys and draw their fire while the PCs made a heroic rescue attempt via a side entrance almost unopposed. No rolls involved, but it enabled the players to see things from a more strategic level.
Making Tasks possible or impossible is indeed really flexible with sufficient creativity. Blocking some path or certain actions was a really cool idea!