Questions from (yet another) newb

I’m hoping to start my first BoB campaign withing the next week or so, and have some questions… I had a few more to start with but have found some answers in these forums.

  1. Can any PC take armour in utility slots, or only rookies and officers?

  2. A specialist deprived of their fine gear is only threat 1, and a soldier (or even rookie) who gets their hands on fine gear is threat 2, correct?

  3. Does a specialist require both fine armour and a fine weapon to be threat 2, or only one or the other? If they only have one or the other do you consider defensive and offensive threat separately?

  4. Light load doesn’t have any mechanical benefit (apart from Panther Like Grace) does it, its benefits are handled narratively?

  5. I think I already know this: 5 reloads for a 5 shot revolver simply means the revolver can be used a total of 6 times, yes?

  6. The difference between wielding a single pistol or a pair of pistols is narrative, not mechanical?

  7. I don’t grok the wounds system on the Marshal’s sheet at all. Are Wounds the same thing as Harm? Can rookies and soldiers have wounds without being dead? How do the three boxes on the Marshal’s sheet match up to the 3+2+1 boxes on the PC sheets?

  8. Does a critical give +1 or +2 to effect?

  9. If using a flashback to provide an assist do you pay stress for both?

  10. Do specialists promoted from soldiers have Grit?

  11. Can you channel up something large and bulky (difficult to carry) when you’ve already done things on the current mission that would have been made difficult by carrying the item? (e.g. you climb hand over hand across a rope between two buildings, then after that channel up a heavy barrel of wine that you’ve brought with you…a bit of an extreme example but you get the idea)

  12. The book suggests fictionally describing intel found (sounds good), but then if that description doesn’t match a mission that the players want to use it for, do you disallow its use there?

  13. Are heartless and devourers scale 2 like horrors, or scale 1?

  14. How do you describe successful attempts to physically harm high threat (large clock) npcs that aren’t fictionally capable of absorbing large amounts of damage? E.g. your war machine heavy smashes their huge hammer into/your sniper lands a crimson shot on Viktoria Karhowl - but her clock still has plenty of segments left, you’ll have to do that another time or two to take her down…

Hey Barli!! Good luck on your campaign! :slight_smile:

  1. The ones that have it in utility lists can. If they want to get it outside of the usual cycle, that has to be handled with RP or scenes or rolls. But it’s not impossible.

  2. Consider the fiction. A really good gun will shoot more accurately. A rookie with good shoot and a pro gun might be able to make that Threat 2 shot. But can a rookie stuffed into someone elses plate-mail (that might not be correctly sized) and with no Anchor be able to threaten a whole group? I dunno. Talk about it.

  3. Gear applies to actions. Are you shooting at a distance with a bow? Probably not threat 2. That bow doesn’t help you if you’re fighting with a spear. But do you need a fine spear to threaten the 5 or so rotters you’re facing or is the armor protecting you enough? Think about it or ask your table. You’re definitely not Threat 2 when Swaying a town mayor because of that armor.

  4. Position and Effect are mechanics. This is a fiction first game. Are you trying to scramble away from a Horror? If you’re not in light load, that’s probably not a controlled position. Trying to sneak past people in heavy load? Also probably not controlled.

  5. Yes. Though don’t count bullets. If you fire a flurry it’s still one reload to “reload”. Don’t over-analyze or detail each bullet. Most guns are muzzle-loaded single shot affairs, but if an officer has a fancy Orite revolver (multiple bullets) and they fire one bullet into the air to get someone’s attention or to offer an assist, I wouldn’t necessarily spend a reload there.

  6. On a 4/5 one can jam. Then you have a backup. But generally yes.

  7. Look at page 127. If you’re still confused let me know.

  8. A critical gives greater effect or one cool extra thing. It should be +2 segments (I looked it up A_B was right below), but sometimes segments don’t matter… in which case you get some added benefit. You might find out some interesting information, do a thing you expected to be noisy quietly, etc. Remember that on resistance rolls crits clear a stress.

  9. You have to pay for the assist, if the flashback is obvious or doesn’t require too much complexity you may not need to pay any stress for it. Also consider a set-up action.

  10. Yep.

  11. Nope. Fiction first.

  12. Try to suit the intel to the mission. So if you find “blighter’s plans” she may have notes about her enemies. If they’re using intel on a Breaker mission give them the info as best you can (did she have maps? maybe that answers some approach questions). If your intel is too specific that’s generally a GM issue so I let it go to expedite play. “Is our intel appropriate” isn’t a fun question at my table. Your mileage may vary. It’s not a hard rule, but I’d suggest leniency here. Intel (like Supply, or Morale) is a company-scale resource and you don’t want to deprive the players of useful resources. It’s better to handwave than to try and argue details here.

  13. I dunno, are they? Are they about the size of 5 people? Silver DEFINITELY is (14 foot wingspan). Is that generic heartless one? Mmm… says they’re like 8 feet. Depends on weapons? If some fool group is using knives they definitely are, but some good spears or guns… probably not. Follow the fiction.

  14. Remember that clock means defeat. It doesn’t mean HP. And clocks represent fiction. If a crimson shot will kill someone - then it just kills them. Don’t worry about the clock. But what makes Viktoria Karhowl dangerous? Is it the traps she uses? The troops she has guarding her? That sniper can’t make the shot… she’s got like 20-30 people in the way. Maybe the clock is clearing those folks, and dealing with the face-melting gas she has on vials on her arms.

Sometimes you can put segments on a clock by doing things that aren’t “HP” damage. To fight a Horror you might have to get inside it’s reach. That’s a scramble, but it makes progress towards defeating them. Put some ticks on. You don’t close ranks and just swing until a clock fills. Remember that a clock is an “encounter” more than a single person. Swinging on Render? Yeah probably sparks fly, he takes a hit, he doesn’t go down. But many of the others you have to (as a GM) kind of puzzle through the encounter and think about what sorts of things are on that clock.

Don’t over-strain it. If they do a lot of setups, a single shot might have a whole lot of effect. Enough Aim and pushes, and you’re doing significant chunks of that clock.

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(Edit : O sh*t. Stras has answered while I was typing. I hope I haven’t written too many bullshit.)

TLDR : I’ve answered every question except the last one, which is part of a much wider problem. I’ll answer that later, and others can give their opinion too (and ofc check if I haven’t written too many mistakes in my other answers).

  1. Can any PC take armour in utility slots, or only rookies and officers?

Officers, Heavy, Soldiers, already have armour at light load, so they don’t need to take it in the utility slots. Rookies can. The others, who don’t have Armour in their utility load, can’t, except when it’s included in their load. This is the military: you take the equipment which is given or available to you.

Or, somehow, you convince the QM or one of his aides to equip you with something with is not on your list of utility. Good luck.

  1. A specialist deprived of their fine gear is only threat 1, and a soldier (or even rookie) who gets their hands on fine gear is threat 2, correct?

Yes. It is not the character, but the equipment which gives the threat level.

  1. Does a specialist require both fine armour and a fine weapon to be threat 2, or only one or the other? If they only have one or the other do you consider defensive and offensive threat separately?

It’s logical and fictional to consider defensive and offensive threat separately.

  1. Light load doesn’t have any mechanical benefit (apart from Panther Like Grace) does it, its benefits are handled narratively?

Yes. Light load could give you better position or effect in certain circumstances.

  1. I think I already know this: 5 reloads for a 5 shot revolver simply means the revolver can be used a total of 6 times, yes?

No. You have a total of 5 ammo. You can shoot five times. But you don’t need to reload between two shots, because it’s a revolver. So you could decide to spend all you shots in one action, as per the exemple in page 76, to get a bonus.

BUT but but… it’s a little bit more complicated. Ammo is not exactly 1 ammo = 1 shot. One ammo is “one SHOOT action”. It could be a salvo, if you have time. Look at the exemple of action p 224.

  1. The difference between wielding a single pistol or a pair of pistols is narrative, not mechanical?

Yes. Or no. You could decide to make it several SHOOT actions, or only one. Zoom on every shot, or not.

  1. I don’t grok the wounds system on the Marshal’s sheet at all. Are Wounds the same thing as Harm? Can rookies and soldiers have wounds without being dead? How do the three boxes on the Marshal’s sheet match up to the 3+2+1 boxes on the PC sheets?
  • On the Marshal sheet, just note who has been wounded, with the highest wound they have received (level of harm).
  • Yes, R & S can be wounded without being dead, if they have been played as PCs in previous missions.
  1. Does a critical give +1 or +2 to effect?

+2. Page 245 : " Dwayne nods, marks a point of corruption, and grabs an extra die. He rolls and gets a critical! “Holy smokes! That’s what—five segments? This rig really pays off. Are we done here?”

  1. If using a flashback to provide an assist do you pay stress for both?

I would say you don’t use flashbacks to provide assists.

When you assist, you somehow take part in the action, directly or indirectly, but you are supposed to possibly suffer the consequence of the action . So you can’t assist “in the past”.

Only the Officer could do something like that with “logistical support”. Channels are a sort of flashbacks.

  1. Do specialists promoted from soldiers have Grit?

Yes. They keep it AND gain their other Specialist action. See exemple page 111.

  1. Can you channel up something large and bulky (difficult to carry) when you’ve already done things on the current mission that would have been made difficult by carrying the item? (e.g. you climb hand over hand across a rope between two buildings, then after that channel up a heavy barrel of wine that you’ve brought with you…a bit of an extreme example but you get the idea)

If it stays in the fictional limits, yes. Yours to decide.

  1. The book suggests fictionally describing intel found (sounds good), but then if that description doesn’t match a mission that the players want to use it for, do you disallow its use there?

Two answers:

  • They can always use their Intel to ask the intel questions, and choose the questions. Or spend the intel for boosting engagement roll, etc.Don’t deprive them of the mechanical reward of intel.

  • But, if they want to use the intel to design a specific mission or trap around it, or other fictional use, they have to work with what they have got, and that’s what you have told them about the intel .

  1. Are heartless and devourers scale 2 like horrors, or scale 1?

Scale 1. Except the Infamous Devourer, Silver, which is scale 2. Ache the Infamous Heartless could be scale 2.

Not all horrors are scale 2. Only some of them.

  1. How do you describe successful attempts to physically harm high threat (large clock) npcs that aren’t fictionally capable of absorbing large amounts of damage? E.g. your war machine heavy smashes their huge hammer into/your sniper lands a crimson shot on Viktoria Karhowl - but her clock still has plenty of segments left, you’ll have to do that another time or two to take her down…

This is a question that has no fixed answer, and which has been the object of many discussions without consensus. It is linked to the wider question of clocks in combat.

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Thanks very much @stras @A_B, that’s very helpful!

7 . This is where I am on this now: wound is equivalent to harm, the Marshal sheet only sees the highest level, the example image ticks being on the right (vs left) doesn’t mean anything, after level 3 (say) wounds are completely healed for a legionnaire then you’d update the Marshal sheet to show unhealed level 2 harm (assuming the legionnaire had both level 3 and 2 at the beginning of the example). Have I got it correct?

14 . I’m ok with failed (or even partial) attempts to attack here, it’s just successful attempts that are a bit difficult - if a heavy says “I smash Viktoria with my hammer” and rolls a 6 then they really have hit her with a big lump of metal and I’m struggling to imagine a good way to play to her clock.

The only solution I can think of is to describe the fiction in a way such that saying “I smash her with my hammer” isn’t fictionally appropriate (because fictional positioning says you aren’t close enough, you can’t see her, etc) and therefore the player won’t say that (until I do make it fictionally appropriate). They’ll say something appropriate to the fictional positioning (“I start climbing the cliff behind her”/“I hold my breath and close my eyes and run through the fog cloud”) that will represent (if successful) ticks on her clock.

Or codify the above, and split her 10 clock into a 6 and a 4, the 6 clock needs to be overcome first and is unlikely to involve physically harming her, and the 4 clock will be for a situation where physical harm for her is possible/likely.

Is that an appropriate/reasonable way of handling/thinking about it?

  1. It’s harm. Each box is basically levels. So if I have 1 level 1 harm, 2 level 2 harms, no level 3 harms my boxes would read [/] [X] [ ]. Does that make sense? You can do them in whatever order you want, I just read them in order (1, 2, 3). And it’s 1 slash for 1 mark, and 2 slashes (and X) for 2 marked. It’s mostly on the sheet so if the QM says “everyone healing” the Marshall knows which sheets to pull. Or if the QM says “how healthy are we, can I skip RnR?” the Marshal can just look at their sumamry sheet instead of having to go through all the character sheets.

#14
Yeah. You got it bud. That’s a solid take.

Remember (page 51) that you have to have the ability to hit her. To new players who are used to more traditional hp model and just running up and swinging a bunch I frequently say: Cool. We’ll get to you hitting her with the hammer, but tell me first how you survive the cloud of acid from that trap you set off, and fight off this swarm of ghouls around her. I believe that yeah, you’ll do it, but we gotta back up and see how and if it costs you anything.

If you are at the “hit her with a hammer” point she should already be at 2-3 ticks remaining. So your idea is great.

I ran a BoB game on stream on Actual Play … the players had a similar issue with the Doctor. And the answer there was: He rides on a customized horror. Might be handy to take a look at that (sorry I don’t have a timestamp handy)

But I think you’re nailing it. Powerful enemies who aren’t just physically beefy are more of a puzzle fight. A few clocks are a great way to handle it. You can MANEUVER up a back cliff, or SKIRMISH with her guards, or SCOUT past em, but you gotta get to a place where that clean shot is plausible first.

  1. Ah, lightbulb moment - the three boxes correspond to the three levels of harm! Thanks for the replies Stras, the insight is very much appreciated!

image
Now that I understand that three boxes are for three levels I think book example above is: no level 1 harm, unhealed level 2 harm, partially(1/3) healed level 3 harm.
Am I correct?
The next 4 healing points received will look like the following (top to bottom), I think:
image

  1. Awesome, it’s a relief to know I’m getting it. I’ve listened to your AP, I remember that, the horror put its hand in way of the shot. That helped me understand how to handle failed/partial attempts to harm squishy-but-high-threat targets. Possibly it included examples for success also, but I listen while at work, so my absorption of APs can be a bit spotty. One last question on this if I may…would you still consider Viktoria to be threat 4 when she’s down to her last 2 or 3 segments: all her defences have been dealt with, she’s now essentially just a standard human with nothing left up her sleeve?
  1. A standard human with massive knowledge of Alchemy backed by resources stolen from much of Aldermark, tricks taught by an ex-Chosen, and a desperate will to survive. ^_~ She’s easier certainly to land a deathblow on, but that doesn’t make her not dangerous.

But no, I might change her threat at that point, if the other obstacles have been dealt with. Probably threat 3 (2 is fine gear, this is slightly more than that). I remember there’s a section in the book where we talk about this but I don’t have the page handy.

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Thanks Stras!

FWIW, the first time my crew encountered Viktoria, she was armed with a handmade assault rifle, a lot of caustic smoke grenades, flamethrower, and alchemically reinforced armour. She still got batted around pretty badly by the Horned One.

The second time, she had built herself power armour.

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