I’ve had a quick search of previous topics, but can’t see a clear answer on this one…
Do you let Medics use “First Aid”, “Not Today” and/or “Field Dressing” to reduce harm/fatalities on a secondary mission?
I think you can make a case that all of these abilities are limited usage, and those Doctor/Tonic points they require are handled as part of the mission’s engagement roll - I.e. they get spent to help the mission succeed, so don’t have a surplus to allow this sort of action…
…but by the same token, having a Medic on a secondary mission feels like it should add something. Otherwise why risk the medic at all, especially if other specialists are there to prevent any penalty to the engagement roll?
(Yes, there are a couple of XP for the medic, but…)
I guess it’s another variation on the usual complexity / follow the fiction / mechanics balance…
My current thought is that I might be inclined to let them do one of those things, but only one - regardless of how many special abilities and points in Doctor they have.
So maybe you can save a Rookie, but if you do that then you can’t also minimise the harm to another specialist…?
(It would mean tracking healing for that Rookie, if that decision is made - but I reckon that choice would be rare enough that it’s not going to add a mountain of paperwork…)
I’m conscious of the difficulty adjustment this might make to the campaign, but I guess the flip side is that if the medic’s on the secondary mission in the first place, the PCs are definitely on their own… so it may even out a little?
Specialist actions cannot be used to affect a secondary mission unless it says so within the ability (such as Strategist and Mission First, which both specifically state they can affect the secondary mission). See page 132.
If you start house-ruling this, it creates a landslide of questions about how the presence of other Specialists should affect secondary missions. Why can’t the chatty Officer grant a bonus to Supply missions? Does the sneaky Scout give a bonus to Recon missions? Send the Heavy on those Assault missions! Boost the Engagement roll if the squad sent best fits the mission, etc.
Secondary missions are deliberately brutal, by design. Obviously, you can house rule it however you’d like, but you’re definitely changing the balance of the game by doing so.
The benefit any Specialist receives is the +2xp for surviving the mission (succeed or fail). Remember, Specialists won’t die on secondary missions unless you send them out while already badly injured, so you’re not really “risking” the Medic by sending them with.
Allowing the use of a resource that simply refreshes post-mission (ie: like Doctor or Tonics) to affect an Engagement roll is like not spending a resource at all, and doesn’t follow the RAW mechanics for handling engagement rolls and secondary missions.
If this feels too punishing, one way your group could handle it instead might be to have the QM start a long-term project to create a new alchemical resource, which could be expended for a secondary mission, saving one squaddie if things went badly. Like other resources, it has to be spent at the start of the mission and is expended whether or not it was needed.
Yeah, that’s more or less my view on the difficulty level - I like the long-term project approach a lot, though.
Especially if it’s not changing the chances of success, just shielding one survivor. I might pitch that to my players if they keep wanting to push in that direction.
And, of course, you could make a case for a long term project to boost a different specialist on secondary missions too (as you say, why just medics?). Which feels like a good use of a project, and is paid for up front in campaign actions and supply. Although I’m a little more comfortable with an improved survival rate than changing the success/fail balance as a whole.
Definitely one to consider…