Squad Numbers

  1. Does a squad have to have 5 members to go on a mission?
  2. Can you freely swap members between squads?
  1. Probably not. The only text in the book that suggests you need to have a full-strength squad is on page 72.

These types of characters will always be assigned to a squad and five will be sent on missions, usually alongside a pair of Specialists.

This really only suggests that you need five, it doesn’t say you must.

  1. You can freely swap members between squads unless the squaddie has been awarded the Sword of Valor. The Sword of Valor makes it so a rookie or soldier gets to choose their squad, overruling the Marshal. Otherwise:

You can always rearrange personnel by moving troops
between squads, but that may cause friction as squad loyalty is certainly a factor. p 129

That’s not how I read that excerpt. I understand it to say the Marshall will only send a full squad of 5 legionnaires on mission. It also seems clear that Legion is organised and trained around squads of five Legionnaires. This is backed up in a few places, like:

  • p226, Squads, “There are plenty of times when having five more people to throw at a problem…”
  • p228 “For example, if the undead have a medium group (12 undead), and you have only your squad (five Legionnaires)…”

This makes sense of why the Legion loses if you every go below three full squads (p126). Anything less than a full squad guarding the camp or on missions, means certain failure.

There’s an absolute fail condition if you go below 3 squads. i.e. 15 legionnaires, but I don’t think it follows that it means every squad has to be at full strength to go on a mission. I read the text on 226 and 228 as merely assuming for the purposes of an example that the squad is at full strength.

It never came up in my game, but if the Marshal had tried to send a partial squad I’d probably give them -1d for the Parameters question on the Marshal’s Engagement Roll sheet.

There was another discussion of these rules earlier here:
https://community.bladesinthedark.com/t/bob-rules-question-squad-numbers/1081

I still think “five will be sent on missions” is a clear cut instruction. I mean play as you like, but the rule is: a squad of five is sent on each mission.

It’s a pretty telling omission there’s no penalty for the engagement roll if the mission has less than a full squad. I think that omission is intentional because the Legion doesn’t do that.

Also, I noticed that sending a squad out with less than five certainly wasn’t an option in the campaign Stras ran on Actual play.

This is actually what led me to ask the question. One of the missions he ran (at least one) mentioned that they had to have 5 on a squad. I was confused about whether that was an ALWAYS condition or something for a SPECIAL mission. I’ll try to review again, but I’m leaning toward must have 5.

You can ONLY send full squads on missions.

Page 60. Five will be sent on missions, usually alongside specialists (you don’t HAVE to include specialists usually for wound conservation, but the mission takes a hit in the engagement).

There’s a few examples of this throughout the book, including the Marshal filling out the ghost owls in the long example in the mission phase chapter.

If you go below five you don’t have scale by default so it matters.

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Whoa! Never realized that - very good to know!

Oh man were haven’t been doing that either. Do only full squads count for defending the camp too?

@Michael_Atlin yep. That’s why you need 3 full squads. Two to go out on missions, one to stay at home. You can lose half your people, but you can’t lose more than half.

If you have 3 in one squad and 2 in another staying back at camp it isn’t a big deal (there’s 5 there, they can technically all be on watch) but in the deploy in particular it matters.

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Ok, so you can cobble together sentries from multiple squads, but you can’t build an offensive patrol from multiple squads. Neat. Thanks for the clarification!

You can have (you need to in some cases) the Legionnaires change squads so squads are completed. According to the fiction it could cause discipline problem, for example if those squads had been squabbling before.

Right but those changes are ‘permanent’ not just temporary secondments like sentry duty.

@stras, you can never have more than 5 in any of the 6 squads, right? There was an occasion where the Marshall recruited and could have gotten more than was necessary, but I didn’t allow that because I thought the number of rookies and/or soldiers were capped at 30.

Correct. You can’t equip, feed, and supply more.

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I hope this is not counting as necro-posting.

the squad of 5 can be formed by specialist? like 3 rookies and 2 specialist?
is still 5 members.

@Osiride it can never have specialists. A squad is any 5 mix of rookies and soldiers only. If you have to demote specialists to line troops your Legion is already lost.