Suppression In Deadzone

The scale of Aggression mentioned in the Alpha rules includes Berserk at the top, but it omits the equivalent at the other end: Suppression.

This follows from Pinned and is an even less happy state. Mechanically it works identically, being another step along the Aggression continuum. However, because Pinned can be removed in a single short action it is a very temporary effect. This is a good modelling of real reactions to enemy fire: targets are only impressed for very slightly longer than you are actually shooting at them. It takes more effort to persuade them to keep their heads down longer.

Because Pinned isn’t long-term it makes it hard to stop enemy attacks and makes Breaking Away a problem unless you have friends nearby to help out and shoot the enemy while you bug out. I rather like the fact that this encourages teamwork among your forces, but it needs to be possible to discourage attackers more thoroughly.

If you’re interested, try using Suppressed as the next step down from Pinned. As you’re only allowed to Get Mean once per turn this makes it work very differently in practice.

Give Suppressed models a -2 in melee and otherwise treat it as Pinned. It’s a tiny change in rules, but adds rather more to the tactics.

Let me know how you get on 🙂

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25 Responses to Suppression In Deadzone

  1. Rob says:

    When you say -2 in melee, do you mean -2 for Fighting and Survival rolls for the Fight or Break Off actions? Or is that just for Fighting rolls with those 2 actions?

    • Rob says:

      Also, should we designate this with perhaps .. Suppressed – lie model face down. Pinned – lie mode down, face up.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      To expand on the above, it probably makes most sense if:

      Suppressed may only roll on Survival (not Fighting) and will do so at -2 for both Break Away and Fighting.

      I don’t much like the face up/face down rule because it simply isn’t possible with a number of figures. Veer-myn and other models with tails have particular trouble. I’d use a counter, myself – perhaps the flip side of Enraged.

      • Rob says:

        ok, that makes sense. Will a suppressed model auto recover to alert after a fight (as happens when pinned) or just to pinned, or nothing?

        • Quirkworthy says:

          If someone Fights you then you get to stand up: ie you recover to Alert. However, Suppressed will take a -2 on their first roll just as Pinned take a -1.

          In both cases you won’t just lie on the floor in a fight if you can get up, but you’ll be at a big disadvantage. Suppressed takes a bigger penalty than Pinned as they’re paying even less attention to their surroundings.

  2. Tom Flannery says:

    Jake. Is there a mechanic or step for decreasing the angered state? I know you can use “get mean” to advance up the angered state from one level to the next but can it also work in reverse? ie going from enraged to alert?

    • Rob says:

      that is a good question. In my practice games with the stage 3a’s being all enraged, it made doing a Shoot action with them difficult.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        I’d been playing with the Enforcers being able to do this as part of their better discipline. Not sure it should be a general rule. It could also be a card option, and a combination of a special rule for Enforcers plus a rare card for others might work best.

        With the Stage 3s you could always start them alert and the 2s enraged.

        • ph3brickid says:

          I was just coming on here to ask that very question. It doesn’t feel right that an enforcer would be irrevocably enraged once he’s wounded something, it would definitely make sense to have a calming down mechanic.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          If you want to try this out, just let Enforcers use Get Mean to go up or down one level as they choose.

  3. pewc says:

    Can you tell us what berserk will do. Presuming +2 in fight but will there be a down side like having to move towards nearest enemy etc.

  4. I like this! Will try it out in our next game.

  5. Aswin Agastya says:

    Hmm, while I do feel Pinned was too weak, but I’d rather have fewer states of morale. 5 seems a lot if you aim for a streamlined game. I’d let Berserk go away and make units react differently when they go Enraged. Strange that you get rid of hit points and use simple 3 wound state, but now implies on using 5 (five!) morale state.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Well Berserk may well not be part of this in the end. I’m currently leaning to making it a special rule for a couple of models. Most won’t go berserk. Been playing this today and it seems to be giving more the results I was after when it’s broken out of the aggression scale.

      You are, however, neglecting the fact that this isn’t just a morale state. It is also a pinned/suppression mechanic and aggression modifier, all of which could be (and sometimes are) separate mechanics or ignored totally. A 4 or even 5 step scale for 3 rules in one doesn’t seem excessive even for a simple rule set.

      • Aswin Agastya says:

        I’d consider them all to one package with morale, as suppression, combat enhancement etc is part of morale. If you think 4 or 5 is absolutely necessary, then by all means go with it. But if the same effect can be gained with less, why not? Not sure how useful pinning an enemy is. They can still shoot. They can even move, if only for a short distance. Not really the definition of “being pinned”. Although skipping pinning and straight to suppressed may make it too easy to render a unit ineffective.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          At present I’d say that 4 was necessary and works both well and simply to reflect a whole spectrum of effects. I certainly can’t see an easier way to include all of the tactical implications with fewer rules.

          Pinning is intentionally a very brief effect in line with an analysis of suppression fire I read. The thinking is that bullets only suppress those they pass within a foot of – you’ve got to get them to feel the “snap” (confirmed by talking to several serving and former military). Pinning doesn’t last long once you stop firing, though you can eventually suppress people so thoroughly that they stay down longer – hence the distinction. In DZ Pinned is effectively a half turn missed, while Suppression is a turn and a half missed. In context that’s a big difference and has a large impact on the other player’s ability to move around freely.

          Skipping Pinning would indeed make it too easy to render opposing models ineffective.

  6. Dark-lupine says:

    very quick question: You say ‘Remember that you can only Get Mean! once per turn’, however reading through the entire rules it is never clear whether this is once per model per turn or once per army per turn. I assume it is the latter but it may be worth clarifying

  7. mastertugunegb says:

    So… Hold the phone… Does this mean I can remove Suppression in the same Turn after I succumb to it now, through use of combining 2 out of 3 different Get Mean! (or indeed “Exactly like Get Mean!”) sources on the same model in the same turn? The bit where it says “Remember that you can only Get Mean! once [per model] per Turn” reference under Suppressed on page 9 seemed to imply you could only ever do 1 Get Mean! style change per model per Turn, no matter where they came from (with the possible exception of Courage)…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      The idea is that the actions provide a baseline for the amount of stuff that a model can do in a turn. This is the once per type of action limit. However, occasionally actions run so smoothly that you can get more done (free actions) or the model simply puts in a herculean effort and goes above and beyond (cards). I don’t think that you’d be able to get a Get Mean free action, but you can certainly use a card as well as an action to show the model putting in a supreme effort to overcome his fear and get on with the mission. It’s a cinematic moment when the music swells and the hero looks all serious. he might even say something pithy and quotable. Of course, with cards being in limited supply, and you having to choose which option to use, these sort of moments are not common.

      And this isn’t a change. It’s the way it always was 🙂

      • mastertugunegb says:

        Yoiks, well… That makes for some rethinks… topic change… If I blaze away at a cube with my allies and the enemy in it, and pin/suppress both sides, do they get to do nothing until someone else Alert/Enraged moves into the cube and starts a fight? Seems R.A.W. that they are unable to do anything at all without outside help. Can’t Fight or Break Off cos they are Pinned/Suppressed. Can’t Get Mean! cos they have an enemy in the same cube as them, which limits them to Fight or Break Off… Seems the more common sense thing is to let a Pinned/Suppressed model activate, Fight, and take the Pinned/Suppressed penalty OR allow Get Mean until you or your enemy are Alert…

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Yup, as written they are stuck. I can’t say I’ve seen this happen a lot in actual play, and when it does then someone has always got mates to come and help (at the very least the guy who suppressed them in the first place).

          There are a number of ways you could change this, but as I said it never came up often enough to worry about and I’ve had to remove a bunch of rules that I was far more interested in. Adding more text to cover this just ain’t on my priority list. Of course, as ever, you are welcome to house rule whatever you like. Personally, on the rare occasions this does arise I’m happy with the models cowering till their mates come to help. Far, far stranger things happen in real combat all the time.

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