Author Topic: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?  (Read 1413 times)

abou

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How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« on: 17 December 2023, 21:23:13 »
In the 3rd SW campaign I am running, one of the player characters took three head hits from a Commando's SRMs. This happened during a single deployment with two hits happening in the same round of combat. I was hoping to include an ongoing narrative in this game, and for the player characters to develop over time. One of the ideas I had was to have this character experience a sort of quirk or habit when seeing units on the field that carry a large number of SRMs. The question is what should this look like.

At first I thought maybe just Commandos would trigger this, but that feels too limiting. Currently I think any unit that is equipped with two or more SRM launchers is a trigger. There aren't that many units which double up with SRMs, but enough that it could be a recurring event. And I don't have to worry about a minimum number of tubes.

So then I am thinking what are the effects should be:
-- Pilot is fearful and tries to maintain a distance?
-- Pilot become aggressive and focuses on the enemy unit until it is neutralized?
-- Pilot suffers a to-hit modifier due to the trauma when attacking enemy unit?
-- Target number to roll for for the player to perform specific actions such as close with the enemy unit?

I don't want to be too severe OR too complicated (hence not all enemy units in a scenario). The player I am thinking about is open to this and does tend to back off to gain distance when taking a couple of knocks to the head. That isn't a bad decision at all, but he pilots a stock Shadow Hawk and is currently working on becoming a melee specialist. So finding a way to make that challenging would be an interesting twist when physical attacks are so powerful in SW-era play.

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: 17 December 2023, 21:49:59 by abou »

AlphaMirage

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #1 on: 17 December 2023, 22:12:16 »
I think you'd be pretty well screened and conditioned for that in training so it's not going to be a single cause thing. I think the most likely thing would be they get a handle as deadeye or ironhead or something like that.

You're far more likely to get it if you have a breech and a missile just missed their cockpit but forced a fall.

Probably hit life support and physically scarred them from shrapnel and you were left alone for a long battle,
trapped in the wreckage bleeding and choking on the smoke.

All the while that Commando lingers as you hear the cries of infantry hit by it's missiles, and knowing you might have been able to do something, if only you had the courage to stand up, but you were to afraid, afraid that the next one,

Wouldn't miss.

Daryk

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #2 on: 18 December 2023, 04:22:49 »
I think something like that could be responsible for a Compulsion (Flashbacks) trait, or even Combat Paralysis (but that's probably WAY too much).

Lorcan Nagle

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #3 on: 18 December 2023, 05:36:56 »
If you're sticking to just BattleTech and not the RPG, I'd say use something like the Demoraliser or Antagoniser ability.  If the player's mech gets close to a unit with a certain amount of SRMs, they need to roll as if they're the target of the ability.
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Weirdo

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #4 on: 18 December 2023, 11:32:00 »
If you're sticking to just BattleTech and not the RPG, I'd say use something like the Demoraliser or Antagoniser ability.  If the player's mech gets close to a unit with a certain amount of SRMs, they need to roll as if they're the target of the ability.

This would be my suggestion as well. If you want to make it unpredictable, go for both:

Step 1: Roll as if SRM unit has Antagonizer. If this pilot becomes Antagonized, stop there, at least until the effects end. (If the roll to avoid the effects was a natural 2, give then Blood Stalker on top of the Antagonization.

Step 2: If they pass, roll again, but for Demoralizer. This time, a natural 2 puts them into Forced Withdrawal in addition to the Demoralization, lasting until the Demoralizer effects end.
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Charistoph

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #5 on: 18 December 2023, 11:58:06 »
This would be my suggestion as well. If you want to make it unpredictable, go for both:

Step 1: Roll as if SRM unit has Antagonizer. If this pilot becomes Antagonized, stop there, at least until the effects end. (If the roll to avoid the effects was a natural 2, give then Blood Stalker on top of the Antagonization.

Step 2: If they pass, roll again, but for Demoralizer. This time, a natural 2 puts them into Forced Withdrawal in addition to the Demoralization, lasting until the Demoralizer effects end.

Or alternatively, roll a D6, 1-2 they are Demoralized, 5-6 they are Antagonized.  3-4 they act normal, but maybe a little cagey?  If you want to keep it 2D6, just expand it out to 6-8 is normal, less is Demoralized and higher is Antagonized.

Reduces the number of rolls to take for the reaction.
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Fear Factory

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #6 on: 18 December 2023, 17:11:53 »
This would be my suggestion as well. If you want to make it unpredictable, go for both:

Step 1: Roll as if SRM unit has Antagonizer. If this pilot becomes Antagonized, stop there, at least until the effects end. (If the roll to avoid the effects was a natural 2, give then Blood Stalker on top of the Antagonization.

Step 2: If they pass, roll again, but for Demoralizer. This time, a natural 2 puts them into Forced Withdrawal in addition to the Demoralization, lasting until the Demoralizer effects end.

You really want me to hate this game, don't you?  :tongue:

I shouldn't have a full on panic attack over an SRM-2. It's not scary enough that I don't ever want to close in and fight (working on melee specialization) but it's just enough pressure to second guess a move.

EDIT: What I mean is, I'm not dealing with enemies that spent the points and are specialized in the demoralizer ability. This is a quirky situation meant to cause me some grief every once in a while. It would be pretty unfair if every single SRM carrying unit on the table is a full blown demoralizer against me and I really don't have any interest in that kind of grief in my life right now lol.
« Last Edit: 18 December 2023, 17:32:19 by Fear Factory »
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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #7 on: 18 December 2023, 17:52:40 »
I was assuming the GM would use their judgement and only apply those rules to noted SRM-heavy units. My mistake.
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Daryk

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #8 on: 18 December 2023, 18:40:38 »
That detail can easily be worked into a Compulsion at the AToW level.

abou

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #9 on: 18 December 2023, 23:38:29 »
I was assuming the GM would use their judgement and only apply those rules to noted SRM-heavy units. My mistake.

Only the best judgement.  :evil:

General308

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #10 on: 19 December 2023, 11:44:16 »
I am also thinking unless he owns the mech he better hide whatever trama he is going from or a mechwarrior with those type of problems is going to be preplaced.

HABeas2

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #11 on: 19 December 2023, 14:24:46 »
My 2 kroner on this one...

In a long-running role-playing campaign I was GMing, we had a standing rule allowing MechWarriors and pilots the ability to eject from any cockpit-destruction situation, but only if they made a pair of rolls first: One to notice that an incoming hit was going to be fatal, and the second to hit their emergency ejection in time. For the PCs in the campaign, this was translated into a Perception Check and a Piloting Check (with a +2 TN penalty), respectively. For NPCs, the process was basically a flat 2D6 of 8+, followed by a Piloting Skill Check with a +2 penalty.

One particular NPC, for whatever damned reason, not only suffered a disproportionate number of cockpit destructions, but also managed to pull off his last-second ejection checks every time. This character had actually reached a lance command level in the players' force, and was thus present in many officer meetings. After so many near-death incidents, I essentially ruled that he spent most of his time quietly flipping a coin with a thousand-meter stare on his face. This behavior and a basic ambivalence toward life-and-death events were maintained even when the NPC was taken over by a new player later on. This was pre-A Time of War and special pilot abilities, but the long and the short of it was that this character was effectively past fear and rage, and thus could not be intimidated, scared, or forced into retreat unless ordered to do so.

In straight tabletop play, I would likely make a character like the above immune to Antagonizer and Demoralizer SPAs, and capable of ignoring any Morale-based effects or Forced Withdrawal rules the scenario (or opposing force special command rules) might call for. In this case, the trauma made them inhumanly fearless and cavalier about danger, with no other penalties or bonuses beyond that.

If, alternatively, you wanted a character quirk that reflected enhanced fear, or which undermined their morale, I would suggest that they simply suffer increased penalties when exposed to the Antagonizer/Demoralizer SPAs, or other situations in which they may experience negative Morale-based effects. If Forced Withdrawal rules are in play as well, this character might have modified "Crippling" conditions that make it slightly more likely to trigger, such as 1 Engine hit (instead of 2), the loss of any head armor at all, internal damage in any two locations (or any one torso location), 3 or more pilot hits (rather than 4), or loses the use of all primary weapons (rather than all weapons period). Any morale penalties applied shouldn't be more than 1 point, though, to reflect what amounts to an over-cautious mindset. (Anything more severe and your warrior would likely be seen as psychologically unfit for service, rather than just "jittery.")

I wouldn't tie any traumatic effect to the presence of a single 'Mech model or weapon type on the battlefield, though. Not unless that specific warrior had been downed/nearly killed by that specific unit/weapon more than twice before.

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abou

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #12 on: 05 January 2024, 00:13:01 »
Wanted to follow up and let everyone know that I appreciate their inputs. I haven't figured out how I want to do this yet, but I am certainly taking it all into account. And since they type of units that would possibly trigger this won't be used for a bit I haven't needed to pin it down exactly.

Col Toda

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #13 on: 07 February 2024, 07:31:42 »
Any of the described reaction are fine if the unit has no medical support.  In the 21st century the most effective  PTSD  treatment  I heard of is desensitization with drugs of repeated stimulus fix the non reaction with another drug and call it a day . Presumably after a couple of hundred years of pharmaceutical research better is available.  Net result six to eight weeks of treatment trauma based behavior is eliminated or replaced with something healthier.  So unless your unit has near non existent medical support it should be a non issue.
« Last Edit: 07 February 2024, 07:33:43 by Col Toda »

abou

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Re: How would you handle a character who was traumatized?
« Reply #14 on: 11 February 2024, 10:06:51 »
Any of the described reaction are fine if the unit has no medical support.  In the 21st century the most effective  PTSD  treatment  I heard of is desensitization with drugs of repeated stimulus fix the non reaction with another drug and call it a day . Presumably after a couple of hundred years of pharmaceutical research better is available.  Net result six to eight weeks of treatment trauma based behavior is eliminated or replaced with something healthier.  So unless your unit has near non existent medical support it should be a non issue.
Good news: the campaign is about 3024 in the CapCon. So the players aren't getting jack in terms of therapy.

 

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