How does using squads for scale help?

Played our first session and had a lot of fun! Looking forward to many more!

I’ve read through the rules on scale as well as the examples many times. I believe I understand the intent of scale but I just don’t see how using a squad is actually to your advantage.

Example 1: Soldier goes toe to toe with a Heartless.
The Soldier is threat 2, the Heartless is threat 2, no scale advantage, no potency.
Starting with Risky/Standard, a 4/5 would give the Soldier level 2 harm and the Heartless 2 ticks.

Example 2: Soldier leading a squad of 4 Rookies toe to toe with a Heartless.
The Soldier with squad is threat 1, the Heartless is threat 2, the squad has scale advantage, no potency.
Starting with Risky/Standard, a 4/5 would give what result?

Because it seems like adding the scale is directly canceled by the drop from threat 2 to threat 1.
The book even says “The difference in threat between you and your opponent impacts the position, effect, and harm discussion in the same way that scale does” (p. 228, emphasis mine)

As I read the rules, Example 2 would actually be worse because not only is the Soldier taking harm but now Rookies are dying as well. And all for the same 2 ticks against the Heartless (Standard effect of 2 ticks, -1 for threat difference, +1 for scale difference).

I’m looking at the most basic Skirmish here. I understand that the fiction can change all these factors.

Hi Tarsk

I had the same kind of questions and had some answers from Stras a few weeks ago on this forum (based on the examples p 229).
It’s true that sometimes the mechanical part of the rules, if you take them basically, will clash wih the logic and the fiction.

However in you exemple, there is an easy answer : one could say that the squad (including soldier), with five légionnaires, is now in CONTROLLED position against a single T2 enemy.

So in fact with the squad, the Soldier would receive only 1 Harm, and only one Rookie would die. Moreover, of course with Controlled, they could choose not to take the harm but retreat, find another approach etc.

(edited and added) Also : what you have described is a PC soldier acting together with his squad (if the soldier was a NPC, there would be no Harm involved). In this case this is a group action, so another advantage of having the squad helping the Soldier is one added dice (at the possible cost of one or two stress for the soldier).

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Hey A_B, thanks for the reply.

That’s a little more vague than I would like it to be (the rules, not your description) but I can work with it.

EDIT you can ignore this: One note: A Soldier is not a Specialist, they are just a legionnaire so alone they are threat 1 anyhow. In the example on pgs 228-229 the Marchioness is a Heavy, which is a Specialist role and therefore threat 2.

I’m not sure how tightly you can draw a codified formula from the examples. The Heavy is fighting a pretty serious threat 3 Infamous and in the second example on p229 it’s pretty clear that the GM is making a judgement call. “Does the whole force count as a threat 2 due to the Heavy’s equipment? The GM rules that the Marchioness alone isn’t enough to offset the majority of the unit.”

To me, the implication there is that the GM could have ruled it was enough. Remember the first guideline for determining effect stated under Assessing Factors on p30: start with your gut feeling.

The answer here is really, do your players think it’s fair?

In terms of what’s the advantage to having a squad of Rookies, IMO A_B is right here that you can increase the position or have them participate in a group action which carries a lot less risk for them.

Conversely I’ve also ruled that adding the rookies into a group action vs a solo opponent may increase the effect. (More chance of that Black Knight officer killing someone but if you do succeed in overwhelming him, your numbers give you great effect.)

As long as your call seems fair and justified for that situation, I wouldn’t worry too much about parsing it down to the last bit of math.

In terms of the other advantages of bringing a squad along, I’d also argue that

  1. Rookies are there to do the boring, non-heroic stuff that may crop up in a mission but really isn’t that narratively interesting. “30 prisoners are shackled in the various cages of the dungeon.” Freeing them should be a job for the squad to handle, so the Specialists can confront the Inquisitor torturing the Commander.
  2. Rookies are there to be killed. It’s one way the game shows the cost of war without relentlessly killing PCs that the players have invested tons and tons of time in. Also: The Lorekeeper won’t get to deploy any of their advances if no one dies.

I know those answers maybe aren’t that satisfying mechanically, but I think the rules are set up to let you make the call for your situation in the moment and therefore have some wiggle room because the rules can’t possibly foresee every circumstance and situation.


All you write makes a lot of sense !

However, the Soldier is Indeed Threat 2, since they have Fine armor and weapon. It is somewhere in the book. and the game designer has also said so somewhere on this forum.

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The big reason is Dominant Factors. If you are facing a Scale 3 or Scale 4 enemy, your extra Threat won’t be a factor, but having Scale 2 of your own would contribute to Effect.

From that section of the book: “There is a way to fight any opponent. This is where effect factors can help make sense of the situation. If the monster is dominant in scale, potency, and threat, then the players can work to understand the factors and take actions to address them. If it’s got scale? Get explosives, or use a whole squad in an assault.”

That said, I agree that the examples on page 229 are ambiguous at best, if not outright contradictory. It also seems like having the squad take additional consequences without contributing dice of their own seems like a strange rule, but is probably included to create a certain tone.


Good point. It’s easy to overlook that one.

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