Campaign of the Month: December 2013
Fate: Warhammer 40,000
A squad is a group of individuals working together toward a common goal, typically under some sort of leadership or otherwise united in a common cause. A squad may be an unorganized mob driven to a frenzied cause, or it may be a formation of guardsmen or even a disciplined squad of stormtroopers. Squads replace the Mob rule from Fate Core (p. 216); a squad’s numbers are modeled more abstractly, and its size is whittled down more gradually likely over the course of several attacks.
In a Firefight, a squad is treated as a single character with certain exceptions. The following summarizes the stats for a squad:
- One or two Aspects
- Skill column capped at 2 (rabble or conscripts) to 4 (veteran soldiers), to 6 (crack troops and special forces). Pick skills so they are representative of an individual within the squad.
- Cohesion track in place of stress tracks
- One to two stunts (see below)
A squad has a large number of boxes in its Cohesion track to represent its sheer numbers, but when it takes stress damage, cross off all boxes below the target stress box. This effectively means squads have “hit points” rather than stress. Attacks that normally damage Physical, Mental and Social tracks automatically damage the Cohesion track.
All squads also automatically gain the follow stunt:
|Stunt: Advantage in NumbersWhen the squad takes damage from a physical attack, treat the weapon’s Damage value as if it was 0, unless that attack has the Area, Blast or Disruptive trait, or is from a squad.|
|Fire team (4-5 soldiers)||2 + Endurance||none|
|Section (about a dozen soldiers)||4 + Endurance||1 Mild|
|Platoon (about 3 sections) *||8 + 2x Endurance||1 Mild, 1 Moderate|
- A platoon may use its leader’s Presence for determining Cohesion. It also typically increases its squad bonus by + 1.
When a squad loses all of its Cohesion, it is Taken Out. Typically, this mean it has suffered atrocious losses, and any survivors members break and flee from battle. Characters attached to a squad may choose to stand their ground and remain in the battle by taking a Consequence. A squad may be completed wiped out by an additional follow up attack after they are Taken Out.
The size and coordination of a squad grants it a + 2 squad bonus when it takes actions against individuals where its numbers can be used as an advantage. Once a squad has less than half its Cohesion remaining, it loses access to its squad modifier.
Lead from the Front
A character may rally a squad to his cause, effectively joining with the squad for combat and acting as a single entity. Consider the squad attached to the PC, allowing the PC to benefit from the squad bonus. The squad may also absorb damage for the PC by taking damage to its Cohesion track, but does not benefit from the Advantage in Numbers stunt.
Alternatively, a character may join a squad to take advantage of the protection conferred by its ranks. As Lead from the Front, they join with the squad and act as a single entity, benefiting from their squad bonus. However, squad remains the default target for enemy fire, use their own skill to oppose attacks, and retain the benefits of Advantage in Numbers.
The character may be targeted individually, but may free tag the squad as a Cover Aspect for free. Area or Blast attacks do not target these characters.
The trait Precision negates the Cover bonus conferred by Close Ranks.
A squad may benefit from NPC leaders integrated within the squad. Treat the bonus conveyed by squad leaders as stunts:
Exceptional Leader – Increases squad bonus to + 2.
Rallying Cry – squad bonus of + 1 when below half Cohesion.
Specialist Leader – Allows squad bonus to apply to other skills.
If the players wish to pick off the leaders of a squad individually, assume they are using the Close Ranks option above. Unless they are named characters, they have default stats comparable to the individuals in the squad, but with defensive stats (including Assault) at + 1 higher; they do not have stress tracks of their own. They benefit from squad bonuses, and may use the squad’s consequences to absorb damage. If they are taken out, the squad loses access to the leadership stunts they conferred.
Note that the leader of a squad may be a named NPC, in which case they use the rules outlined above when leading squads.
Deep Ranks – Increases Cohesion stress track by 5.
Safety in Numbers – Advantage in Numbers also apply to social and mental attacks.
Tactical Spacing – Advantage in Numbers is no longer negated by the Disruptive, Area or Blast traits. (Fire team and section size squads only).
Tenacious – The Cohesion track behaves as normal stress track (Fire team and section size squads only).
Aspect: “A determined, Emperor-fearing rabble.”
Skills: Marksmanship 2, Assault 1
Flak Armor: 1
Lasguns: damage 1, range 2
Squad bonus: + 1 Marksmanship
Leader: Sergeant – Allows squad bonus to apply to Assault
Aspect: “We strike terror from the shadows”
Skills: Marksmanship 4, Tactica 3, Athletics 2, Assault 1
Carapace Armor: 1
Hellguns: damage 1, penetration 1, range 2
Cohesion track: 4 stress (Tactical Squad)
Squad bonus (Special Forces): Stormtroopers are resourceful and versatile soldiers that are trained to take advantage of changing battlefield conditions. Once per turn, they may tag one Aspect for free, for a + 1 bonus. They may also grant this bonus to another character, provided you are able to narrate how the stormtroopers are able to lend assistance to them.