Page 1481 - Friend and Foe

12th Jan 2021, 6:00 AM in A Canterlot Wedding, Part 2
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Friend and Foe
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Newbiespud 12th Jan 2021, 6:00 AM edit delete
Giving smart, tactical, knowledgeable players a challenge can be an uphill struggle, especially as it becomes more clear that they're kind of smarter than you.

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Digo 12th Jan 2021, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
Run an adventure where 2-3 players are former military and you quickly learn how silly the standard D&D strats are. :3

Plus side, I learned some real tactics without going to boot camp.
Bastet 12th Jan 2021, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
Now THOSE are some stories I'd like to hear!
Chakat Firepaw 12th Jan 2021, 2:58 PM edit delete reply
There's always the story of an elderly pair of first-time players:
Space Jawa 12th Jan 2021, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Agreeing with Bastet, tell us more!
Digo 12th Jan 2021, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
Okay, a couple decades ago I ran a tabletop wargame based loosely in the World War II era. No specific battle, just a situation where the party represented allied forces to defend a small european town from a German tank battalion.

They were out gunned and out-manned, but of the team of four, one was a marine and another a naval officer. Together they worked on this plan to set up anti-tank dragon teeth in some odd hilly places and above that placed a lot of their artillery. Ground troops packed allied tanks into odd spots partly inside buildings and they instructed the other two players what to do.

I had one helper with the German side and we drove the tanks towards town using the roads. Interestingly, the players attacked the rear tank divisions first. This meant the forward divisions got to the town and fired upon the ground troops.

Then that's when these two military guys spring their trap. Their tanks flanked the Germans and targeted vehicles at intersections. I realized it too late that their plan was to
Force German tanks to use smaller side roads. Intersections became useless because driving over burning tanks was hard. Also, the German supply lines were slowed down because the roads were littered with dead tanks and they couldn't easily get past those dragon teeth off the roads. Their plan was all about killing the German mobility. Because now slow moving targets were prey for the artillery!

They easily beat this war game and I was quite impressed. A lot of times people think about getting kills first. Now I know it's about set up first, then the kills.
Eroraf 12th Jan 2021, 7:32 PM edit delete reply
As someone who has extensively played both Octopath Traveler and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I can confirm: clever set-ups are HIGHLY underrated.
Draxynnic 13th Jan 2021, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
Which is why most adventures involve the PCs going into a region where the bad guys are prepared, and not the other way around. With close-to-modern technology or mid-level magic, a bit of preparation goes a long way... and limiting the enemy's mobility is often what allows you to get kills at relatively little risk to your own side.
terrycloth 12th Jan 2021, 6:54 AM edit delete reply
I had one campaign where we were all MMORPG players and used MMORPG stats, and those worked ridiculously well compared to standard D+D 'tactics' also.

I'm sort of curious what real tactics are like though.
Winged Cat 12th Jan 2021, 6:23 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
The Seabee Combat Handbook is available online. You might want to start with volume 1 chapter 4.
Jennifer 12th Jan 2021, 8:51 PM edit delete reply
So is the Bluejackets Manual. I have a 1943 edition.
Guest 12th Jan 2021, 8:45 PM edit delete reply
I can strongly recommend Defence of Duffer's Drift, which is available free in many places. It's basically "how to defend a river crossing with British riflemen during the Boer War." Though you should be aware it is of its time in terms of racist assumptions - for example the officer is expected to impress local natives as labor. Basically, it is a series of "dreams" in which the protagonist repeatedly fails his mission, but learns new lessons each time, modifies his plans to suit, and ultimately succeeds. You end up with 22 "axioms" to consider.

Duffer's Drift has many imitators - there is also Attack on Booby's Bluffs (set in WWI with an American infantry battalion and support), Defense of Bowler Bridge (defending a river crossing in the '30s against armored cars) and Defense of Hill 781 (US combined tactics, circa 1980).

There are plenty of official tactical manuals available free online, particularly WWII and modern US Army ones. A fine general manual still used today is the 1940 Marine Corps Small Wars Manual.

Most historical wargames give good overviews for their periods.

And pretty much any Osprey book will go into surprising detail on its subject.

Guest 12th Jan 2021, 8:50 PM edit delete reply
I ran a number of freestyle Warhammer 40K RPGs online where the PCs were Imperial Guardsmen. About half the players were serving US Army personnel, and they had plenty of thoughts about how to handle my challenges.

I later played as XO and later commander of a squad in similar games, and got reamed by one of my squadmates (a serving officer) for really poor moves like:

- taking a prisoner without instruction, as this meant the enemy would be alerted to our presence,
- and NOT punching out one of my subordinates who left his lasgun safety off and nearly shot someone. (We were playing 40K Australians with poor discipline, but even my sergeant shouldn't have treated something like that cavalierly.)
Cliff_Robotnik 12th Jan 2021, 11:28 PM edit delete reply
The friend I oft mention in my sleep-deprivation fueled story times, Dave, is Military.

I've long since stopped trying to have enemies out-tactics him... He is also the one in my group to spend the second largest amounts of time lost in the catacombs of the dungeon known as "TV Tropes"(the Fool holding the top position is... Myself.), so he is about the no creative, and genre savvy player and 've ever had.

He also has a habit of adopting entire races of underprivileged sentient humanoids (Goblins, kobolds, kuo'toa, ect) and "uplifting" them to not be cannon fodder, and make something of their lives... So he would pretty much immediately start poking holes in the Changelings lifestyle and plan, pull out a three paragraph "Reason you suck and why you are failing your people" speech out of his ass, and stage a Coup against Chrysalis right there in the wedding chapel.

I know I talk about him a lot, but I've been playing TTRPGs with this group since we met on Warcraft 3, so I have a story for nearly every situation...

Also what Fluttershy's does there is a good example of how Dave would handle this particular battle... Cept he would pass his bluff check to not get found out immediately, and proceed to ensure the enemy hits itself more then the party...

This is why I don't give him changes to embody his favorite TF2 character any more...

Also, I now know how to breach/Enter a hostile building, as he follows THAT to the letter even in fantasy games...
Kereea 12th Jan 2021, 6:12 AM edit delete reply
We sorta had an inverse of this in the fight that TPK'd us in my recent group. The GM was really impressed with our ideas and how we managed to hang in there, it was just that the monster was designed for when we had a full time cleric with us (had to leave for family reasons) so being down a party member AND that member being the main healer (my Bard and the Blood Hunter could only backup heal) meant we were in BIG trouble going in. We got it down to under a hundred hit points (so a turn with the fighter would probably have wiped it) but just couldn't seal the deal.