Combat groups and Soak

In one of my online sagas, something weird came up. Three characters couldn't be a combat group because their soak total were not close.

One of the characters had tough virtue, +2 stamina and full suit of armor for +12 soak, another character had lighter armor and lower stamina for only +6 soak. The two could not be in group together even though thier attack, defense and damages were close because soaks were off.

I am wondering what people think about this? Should damage and soak be counted into what makes a combat group (trained or untrained) or just attack, defense and initiative.

Yes, soak counts ecause it is an abstract inicator of your manuverability. Abstract, in the sense that soak can come from sources other than armour (thus I understand why you would question it). But anyway, a guy in full metal armour is not likely going mesh smoothly with a unit of lighter armoured warriors. The ideal situation is if everyone in the group had exactly the same armaments and armour.

But there is a megagame reason too. In a group, all of your combat scores are abstracted together. If there is a varience of more than 5 points, it breaks the system. So say you have a soak of 12, and deliver +10 damage. You are the vanguard. Everyone else has a soak of 3 and delivers +3 damage. Since damage absorbed and dealt is based on the vanguard, the exceptionally low scores of the rest of the unit are glossed over. It breaks the versimilitude.

But then again, mine is just one interpretation. I would like to hear more opinions (as I am the "killer DM" enforcing the rules in this circumstance :laughing: )

See the key that I have against it making sense is the warrior with 3 stamina and tough virtue fighting at side of warrior with 0 stamina and no virtue. Their ability to take damage is different even if they have the exact same armors, weapons, and weapon skill.

There is no reason that the two shouldn't mesh fluidly.

But the math breaks when you do that. Only one score is used for everyone in the group. If the tough guy is the vanguard, the weaker guys are recieving an unfair advantage. If the tough guy is not the vanguard, he recieves an unfair penalty.

True. What about a house rule that simply averages the statistics of the group members? So for example, the presence of that one person with very high Soak offers a little extra protection for the people with lesser Soak, at the cost of becoming a little more vulnerable personally.


The trained group rules have all kinds of unexpected quirks.

For example, an experienced centurion who trains a bunch of raw recruits for a year cannot fight with them as a trained group--he's too good!



I've always taken the group combat rules to be a substitute for mook-rolling. Instead of rolling for a half-dozen grogs you get one roll, or whatever. Adding your specific gnarly grog to the group sort of breaks the abstraction.

ymmv/imo/et al.

One thing I could see because soak really has nothing to do with skill and such is and it is based on attack advantage anyways.

Attacker rolls attacks, defender rolls defense to get attack advantage. Attacker than adds their damage bonus. This damage total is then distributed as appropriate number of wounds against each member of the group and you determine soak individually. So 12 pts of damage to 4 people means one might soak it all, another might soak 4 and take medium wound, another 1 and take a heavy wound. It then reduces what they give to the vanguard.

Soak has a lot to do with it. The group, trained or untrained, uses the combat statistics of the Vanguard. He also bears the brunt of the fighting, and must take at least as many wounds as everyone else if not more.

If you have the vanguard loaded down with full mail and everyone else has silks, well, it breaks the abbstraction. The enemy is going to want to focus all their blows on the silk pajama patrol. Conversly, vanguard in silk and everyone else in mail, it is unlikely that the wounds would be evenly distributed. The enemy will aim for the weakest link.

As it is , the group combat rules allow for a 5 point varience between combat scores. I think that is pretty generous.

Originally, they didn't have a limit like that. The critical playtest comment was along the lines of "My dragon has five pet mice".

It didn't need to go into detail.

The group rules are a convenient abstraction for group fighting, but a very different statistic, including Soak, breaks the abstraction.

Actually, I tended to think that way too, but eventually changed my mind.

He can, by fighting at a reduced level of ability (we assume that, with the possible exception of some supernatural stuff, it's always possible to act as if your abilities or characteristics were lower - though hiding to the experienced observer that you are pulling punches requires Guile). This is realistic: he can raise the effectiveness of the group with his fighting skills to some degree, but if he tries stuff that is too fancy, he will just get into the way of the rookies and viceversa.

I have never used the combat group : too strange.

But, if a "leader" in a group, i'll give some bonus, depending on his leadership (+leadership/2, round up in att&def

The Leadership bonus for a Trained Group is much higher. It is the sum of the combat ability scores of all the members of the group, equaling a maximum bonus of 3 times the Leadership score. The bonus is applied to either Attack or Defense, as the leader chooses from round to round.

Yes, but consider that a group against another group mean either a lot of dices or a lot of unrealistic games, i'd prefer my way of doing it.

I encourage people doing things their own way. But how does using the RAW generate any more dice or make things any less realistic? In the group combat rules, you are rolling one die for the entire group. I do not understand you, could you please clarify?