Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?

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Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« on: September 22, 2013, 05:01:34 PM »
During our session yesterday a question came up about how gangs take harm.

The PC's gang was doing a prolonged battle and the opposing gang managed to do 1-harm four times before they where defeated. We did describe some of the people getting killed but one of the PC's felt like the harm done their gang didn't correspond with it taking a total of 4-harm ("widespread serious injuries, many fatalities").

So, is 1-harm x 4 = 4-harm?


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noclue

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Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 06:09:55 PM »
I'd say yes. And if the PC is the leader of the gang, they take the same amount of harm.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 06:33:26 PM »
I'd say yes. And if the PC is the leader of the gang, they take the same amount of harm.

I thought so. But i forgot about the PC takes the same harm. Ouch. Thats a lot. Have to think about how to handle that. Thanks!

Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 06:36:52 PM »
I'd say the gang would most likely suffer 4-harm.

As far as the PC, I think it depends on the situation. If the PC is describing being out among the gang, fighting with them, then he'd suffer the same harm, but if they describe holding reserves, attacking conservatively, using their gang as a buffer, maybe only some or none of the harm blows through.

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noclue

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Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 07:03:13 PM »
As far as the PC, I think it depends on the situation. If the PC is describing being out among the gang, fighting with them, then he'd suffer the same harm, but if they describe holding reserves, attacking conservatively, using their gang as a buffer, maybe only some or none of the harm blows through.
The book's pretty clear on this point on Page 169. If the PC is hanging back trying to protect themselves they suffer 1 less harm than the gang. So, 4x0 harm = 0 harm. But remember, the gang holds together up to 4-harm if they have a strong and present leader, if not the gang starts to break apart at only 3-harm.

I thought so. But i forgot about the PC takes the same harm. Ouch. Thats a lot. Have to think about how to handle that. Thanks!
I wouldn't catch the PC up on the harm because they may have made different choices if they were getting wounded along the way.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 12:01:16 AM »
It's a good question, because an okay-armed gang attacking an okay-armored gang (say, 2 harm versus 1 armor) will only deal 1 damage every time harm as established is dealt, and it doesn't sound like much.

But over four rounds, that means the defending gang is taking, say, a maor injury every round, and then there are the several people who take a minor injury, and then another, and then another, without an Angel (or equivalent) and crew patching folks up here and there... to me, seems quite like 1 harm can add up, all else being equal.

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Scrape

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Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 12:41:02 PM »
Four rolls for a combat seems like a lot. Sounds like you're describing a classic war of attrition, where the enemy just slowly ground down the attacker. So they won the battle, but each one of those 1-harms represents bullets hitting people. Some of them bled out, some were killed off one-by-one, and some just flee when they took a hit to the arm, yeah? All injuries and deserters added up, this protracted battle did 4-harm.  Sure.

That said, if it feels wrong then don't do it. AW is a fiction-first game and you can dish out whatever Harm makes sense. I struggled with the Harm rules until I realized that they're not set in stone. You can totally say "a stray ricochet catches you for 1-Harm" or you can say "damn, the bullet slams into your gut for 3-Harm, you need a medic!" Whatever makes sense. I treat the damage ratings in the book as a guideline only: about how powerful is this weapon, on average?

Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 05:12:17 PM »

Personally I would just apply the 1-harm cumulatively -- i.e. every time 1 harm is done, you enact the fictional reality that represents, then move on. Since the rules for gang harm don't scale linearly, that would not result in four 1-harms being identical to one 4-harm. A gang that repeatedly takes small arms fire is going to be much better off than a gang you shoot a rocket launcher into, or overrun with your own gang of machete-wielding motorcycle cavalry.

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lumpley

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Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 11:56:31 AM »
The by-the-book answer is that harm against gangs doesn't sum. Taking 1-harm four times isn't the same as taking 4-harm all at once.

The rules for PCs taking harm when a gang does are on page 169. They're easy: if the PC is a leader or prominent member of the gang, she takes the same harm the gang does. If she's just a regular member, or if she's actively trying to protect herself while the rest of the gang fights, she takes 1-harm less.

-Vincent

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Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 04:05:50 PM »
Ideally, none pf this harm was abstract. Like, each time harm was dished out, you describe who got hurt and how. So hopefully it's easy to look back and be all "hmmm, you've got X number of wounded and Lilly is dead, I guess mark 2-Harm for all that." That's a possible solution.

Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2013, 12:23:20 PM »
I'm actually a little curious what happened that lead to four "rounds" of combat doing 1-harm each. Did the gang's leader repeatedly Go Aggro, try to seize a bunch of different things by force, did he keep trying to hold an untenable position? AW has never struck me as lending itself to prolonged engagements because its rare that your only goal is "keep shooting until they stop moving" and any other goal is usually won or lost on a single roll.

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Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2013, 02:10:17 PM »
I was a little curious, myself. Seize is often treated as the "combat roll," when it really encompasses much more. I think it can be hard to break out of that mindset, and realize that violence for its own sake is not really what the system is about. That said, it's totally possible to string together multiple goals and find yourself in the crummy position of rolling Seize four times in a row.

Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2013, 02:00:48 AM »
It is possible. I'm just saying for my MC money, as soon as someone says "we shoot them again" I'm going to back them down and ask "OK, So what is it you're trying to seize from them?" maybe the player says "their still beating hearts" in which case, fine. I still want them to stop and think about it for just a second because chances are if its not a battle, completely demolishing a gang was not their primary goal.

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Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2013, 05:21:24 PM »
It is possible. I'm just saying for my MC money, as soon as someone says "we shoot them again" I'm going to back them down and ask "OK, So what is it you're trying to seize from them?" maybe the player says "their still beating hearts" in which case, fine. I still want them to stop and think about it for just a second because chances are if its not a battle, completely demolishing a gang was not their primary goal.

Absolutely. Needing four rolls to finish a battle seems like an edge case for sure.

Re: Is harm suffered by gangs cumulative during combat?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2013, 06:11:20 PM »
Maybe we overdid the battle. It was the major showdown between the hardholder and the local warlord who tried to invade the hardholders island. Every roll some of the battlefield shifted owner. I did want to have a longer scene. Not sure i handled it the best way.