Advice for a noob BoB GM on squads

So I’ve run a bunch of BitD, but I’m just kicking off a BoB campaign. After set-up we had just enough time to start the first mission (we have short sessions… middle age life of work/kids/etc…).

Our Chosen is The Horned One’s, the 3 PC specialists are a Heavy, a Medic, and a Sniper. The current Broken is Render.

The PCs decide to rush the wagons (after the Blackshot), going in hot. I’ve set up that the Chosen is going after Eater, who is making big circles around the wagons. A Heartless and a bunch of Gaunt are with the wagons. The Gaunt are spread around the wagons to provide coverage, the Heartless is in the center.

The Heavy decides to take the squad (the Shattered Lions) right at the Heartless, while getting the Sniper and Medic to clear a path through the 2 Gaunt in the way.

We ended with the Sniper taking out one Gaunt with a rifle, and the Medic taking down the second one with a pistol (so closer), and ending up in a desperate position with two more Gaunt closing in.

In thinking back on the session the next morning I realized I had some questions.

  1. Is it reasonable to take down a Gaunt with normal ammunition? I figured that a Gaunt at Threat 1, vs a Specialist with a Fine weapon, so Threat 2, could take out an Undead Line Troop with a success. The Potency of Blackshot seems overkill when the Legionaire is higher Threat. Am I missing something?

  2. I’m a bit confused on the options for dealing with the Squad and the Heavy. Assuming the Heavy wants the Squad for backup in attacking the Heartless, would that be best handled as a Group Action, with the Squad rolling a single die? How else could that be handled?

  3. Calculating Effect for the Heavy and Squad vs the Heartless. How does this look to you? The Heavy and squad are scale 3, a medium group, the Heavy is Threat 2 but so is the Heartless. And the Heartless and a couple of Gaunts are Scale 2. So would that mean a success for the PC, in group action is Greater Effect? And Harm from the Heartless at a Risky Position is Harm 1?

  4. The mission set up in the book states that a frontal assault of the wagons creates an 8 segment clock for the Heartless (Elite) and a 10 segment clock for the Chosen vs Eater (the Infamous). Does the Heartless clock include the Gaunt (Line Troops) or should they be handled separately? When would you tick up the 10 segment clock for Chosen vs Eater? When the PCs get consequences? From periodic Fortune rolls?


Hi! Welcome to the forums! Sorry this took a bit to answer, and I hope it helps.

  1. Tier and Fine weapons aren’t the only thing to consider here; what does the fiction say? Gaunt are armored undead (who don’t care about being shot), so how is the sniper getting past that armor to hit anything vital? And what counts as vital on the undead? So how is shooting them taking them out of the fight? Higher Threat or not, this could easily be a No Effect or Limited Effect to start with for the Sniper if they don’t have blackshot to make everything on the Gaunt a “vital area”.
    Most of the time you’re facing squads of Gaunt, rather than individuals, which would mean the sniper trying to take down five-or-six Gaunt with normal ammunition, by themself, which gives the Gaunt scale on the sniper, in addition to the other issues (armor, vitals). However, 1-on-1 at a distance, I’d personally give it to the Sniper at Standard Effect.

  2. It could be done with the Heavy using Marshal to direct the squad first (if he doesn’t, or doesn’t succeed, you can drop the effect level – the Rookies are tripping over themselves), and then roll a Group action using 1d for the squad (2d if the whole squad is Soldiers). However, if one of the Rookies is being played and involved in the action, you have them roll for the squad instead using their Action rating – if you have more than one Rookie being played, pick one of them to be “the Corporal” at the start of the mission, and they roll for the squad. If you don’t do it as a Group action, the Heavy doesn’t get Scale.

  3. First, does the squad have to split its attention between the two Gaunt and the Heartless, or can they move against them as a unified formation? (ie: are the Gaunt flanking the squad, forcing them to split their attention?) This fiction is important, as it is going to change what is possible, what kind of position the group is in and what the outcomes could be. Presuming they can rush all three as a group, you have to ask “Does the Heavy’s Threat level count enough to increase the entire group’s Threat level?” In most cases, no, so the Group action is calculated using Threat 1 as it’s mostly Rookies acting. (The Heavy using Anchor might make the Group into Threat 2, however.) Threat 1 vs. Threat 2 means Less Effect for the legionnaires; their group has Scale, however, and as long as that matters in the fiction, they have More Effect. So these cancel one another out; ie: if you started at Standard effect, you’re still at Standard.
    Harm in this case is calculated against the squad and the Heavy separately. A Fail or Partial result on a Risky action is a level 2 Harm. Threat is a wash for the Heavy, but their group has one order of Scale, so the Heavy would take a level 1 Harm. The squad, however, are only Threat 1, this would normally increase the Harm done them by one, but that is mitigated by the group’s greater Scale – it’s a wash – so two Rookies would die. If the Heavy were able to bring up the entire group’s Threat level, the squad could then use that to buffer the Harm by one.

  4. You can decide this at your table. Is part of reducing the Heartless’ clock cutting down his Gaunt escort of line troops? (Remember, clocks aren’t hit points.) Are you just trying to get the line troops out of the way first? How much effort does that require: is a Standard effect enough? Threat 1 enemies don’t have clocks, even as groups, but it all depends on how you want to run the encounter.
    The book is deliberately vague on when to tick clocks in these encounters. Which method seems most reasonable and most fun to you. As part of consequences for a roll is always a good bet. Hard-won lesson: don’t be afraid to tick clocks, don’t put it off or make it rare. Those things should be sweaty-palm time bombs. (Remember, you aren’t limited to a single consequence for consequences: you can say up-front “every time your squad has consequences, I’m also ticking the clock for your Chosen’s battle against Eater. When it fills, she goes down.” and still do Harm and/or Reduced Effect, etc.)

If any of that doesn’t make sense, or brings up new questions, please ask and I’ll try to clarify!