Home Forums General Game Design What feels better?

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    Angel Barracks

    I am wondering what feels right here.

    I am looking at a d6 modifier for a vehicle that is ‘hull down’.
    Assuming the attacker needs a 5+ to hit the vehicle.
    Assuming that once hit the vehicles needs a 5+ to save…

    What seems best, giving the attacker -1 to hit, or giving the vehicle +1 to save?


    Surely being hull down should affect the chance of being hit and so the modifier should be applied to the hit roll. It is the same principle as an infantryman taking partial cover behind a low stone wall – his body is covered, but head, shoulders and arms are exposed. Therefore he is a smaller target and therefore he is harder to hit.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    Nick the Lemming
    Don Glewwe

    An off-the-cuff thought:

    If the hull down condition reduces the chance for an effective hit (eg: eliminating the chances for a hit on a vulnerable/less-armored area, like the tracks/wheels, perhaps?)  then an improved save roll (6+ ?) may also represent the situation.

    ie: A smaller target is harder to hit, and what you can hit is tougher to kill.

    …perhaps the opposite of the fellow behind a wall: a hit is less likely, but a success (in the head?) would be more fatal.


    Angel Barracks

    Oooh good point about the wheels, there could be a modifier to the damage chart.

    Also I was thinking that an area effect weapon which does not hit the vehicle directly, could still effect it with a blast radius.
    In that case a -1 to hit would grant no benefit from being hull down if there is no actual hit roll vs. the vehicle, hence the save option.

    hmmmmm pondering still.

    Norm S

    For direct AP fire, the hull down target is small and if struck, front turret armour is usually the thickest part of the vehicle. I would go with harder to hit  and do a save based around best armour.

    For HE fire – if it is direct fire, I would make it the same mechanic as an AP shot and then just resolve the blast on the tank IF it was hit.

    For indirect / plunging fire, I would ignore hull down advantages, take into  account the dispersed nature of area fire (as opposed to direct fire) and the weak armour on the top of the vehicle and suspension damage from direct hits – so mobility hits may be more likely.

    Lagartija Mike

    Some of both, depending on the weapon used.


    Hull down makes it hard to hit tanks, conventionally the effect on hit probability (assuming aiming at centre of target mass) is to reduce the hit probability by at least 50% if not 75% for vehicles with small turrets.

    Genuine hull down positions are hard to achieve in the field unless vehicles are dug in, so I would err on the side of generosity to the firer. -1 on the hit roll neatly halves the hit probability, so go with that.

    Hull down or any other directional cover (earth banks etc) has no effect whatsover on indirect fire, which is why infantrymen dig holes in the ground. So IF effects on the tank are unreduced (unless some friendly engineers have physically dug a great big hole to park it in). The chance of a top hit is unreduced, and digging it in merely reduces the exposure to fragmentation damage on the running gear. ‘concussion’ will only affect a tank if it is from something really big – aerial bomb, heavy caliber artillery etc. There are plenty of personal accounts from WW2 of direct HE hits from mortars** and even 25pdrs which had absolutely no effect on the tank whatsoever and certainly didn’t kill the crew with concussion. An 8″ shell would most likely demolish it completely though, 6″ fire and above was generally sufficiently scary to get tanks to move or suffer the consequences.

    **as ever there are exceptions, like the Tiger II knocked out at Oosterbeek by a 3″ mortar bomb on the engine deck, or the Sherman knocked out by an airburst which sprayed shrapnel in through the open hatches killing or wounding the turret crew.





    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Phil Dutré

    I tend to look at these things from a procedural point of view. When you have a classic to-hit to-save die roll mechanism, with die rolls normally made by the player controlling the vehicle that takes the action (i.e. to-hit is rolled by player controlling shooting vehicle, to-save is rolled by player controlling the target vehicle), I think the modifier that depends on the status of a vehicle should be applied to the die roll made by the player controlling the vehicle.

    So, if the target is hull-down, that would be a modifier to the to-save roll. Anything that depends on the status of the target should be applied to the to-save roll. Anything that depends on the status of the attacker (incl. weapon ranges) should be applied to the to-hit roll.

    The reason is that players know the status of their own figures best, and by keeping modifiers as described above, there is no need for cross-checking (and tis speeds up the game). E.g. when I am shooting at your target, I don’t need to ask whether you are hull down, or in cover, or whether you moved etc. That’s for you to factor in in your to-save roll. Also, the defender doesn’t need to ask the attacker about type of weapon etc. That should all be factored in the to-hit roll.

    I realize this goes against a too literate interpretation of the to-hit to-save mechanism. I know some people prefer to think about the to-hit roll as really modelling the chances of the attacker hitting the target, and the to-save roll as the representation of determining damage. But the to-hit to-save mechanism is a very abstracted way to look at the whole process, and what counts in the end is the overall probability of inflicting damage on the target, not the individual probabilities of subsystems or subrolls. Hence, I prefer to go for optimality in procedure, rather than optimality in what some players think the rolls represent.

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    Alvin Molethrottler

    I realise that this isn’t one of your options but I’d just give the vehicle one extra saving throw die. So it gets two dice and needs only one of them to score 5+ to save.

    Don Glewwe

    I realise that this isn’t one of your options but I’d just give the vehicle one extra saving throw die. So it gets two dice and needs only one of them to score 5+ to save.

    Possible.  That would increase the save by ~60%, while making the target save # 6 instead of 5 would be an increase of 50%.

    I guess it all boils down to how much you want?


    PS- I like Phil’s ‘you control it, you figure it’ method.  In general, I’m a fan of “it’s your problem, you deal with it” mechanics that rely on players to participate in the process, rather than have a (hopefully) benevolent GM intervene while they’re busy texting or ordering a snack…  ; )


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