Sunday, June 30, 2013

Establishing ROE

Pilla: Colonel, they're shooting at us! Colonel, they're shooting at us!

McKnight: Well shoot back!

What's the point of winning initiative if your team isn't sure it can open fire? Last Friday's playtest showed the impact of not establishing rules of engagement. During an encounter the squad was approached by armed men, but they weren't sure if they could fire just yet. The teams had the initiative, had the night cover and had night vision, but it still took buckshot on one member to have them open fire on the hostiles. What went wrong?

Usually in dungeon crawls it's pretty simple, we're here, they're there, shoot first ask questions later. But, for example, +Keith Bailey told me just last week about an adventure in which he made party members approached from opposing ends of the passage. They ended up killing each other because they didn't take the precautions necessary.

In the fast paced settings of urban warfare this can occur quite often. Making the "kill them all let God sort them out" tactics from fantasy RPGs very dangerous. Taking care not to shoot friendlies is a serious concern. This seriously impacts the value of initiative, since having initiative in most games is only valuable if you get to fire first. More so if characters have only split seconds to tell between friend or foe, should minute long conversations between players be allowed?

Have you had friendly fire in your games? How do you handle determining between friends or foes? 
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