Legacy 2e has been out for over 10 days, and is still in the #1 Bestseller spot on DriveThruRPG! If you want to soak in more of it ambience, we’ve also put up an Art Book and a collection of wasteland-themed audio tracks.
One thing people new to Apocalypse World-derived games trip up on is how quickly you can resolve a situation – Fiercely Assault, for example, lets you finish a fight in a single roll. Douglas Mota, co-author of Legacy, is here to talk about how you can expand these scenes out while still bringing in plenty of drama.
Do you know their defences and positioning? A great moment to roll Under Orders as you send in Companions to get the lay of the land. Attacking blindly is a sure way face well-entrenched forces, usually spread in clusters and covering angles in order to put you in a hot killzone. My players usually learn rather quickly that the those who survived the Fall and the harsh world it created had to be (or become) wary and ruthless fighters.
Do your opponents have the numbers advantage? If so, your weapons need the Area tag to attack effectively, or the Brutal tag to demoralize them and perhaps open them to surrender or retreat. Alternatively, you can manoeuvre to split them into more manageable numbers for a Fiercely Assault. In this case…
Are you properly placed to attack? Unlikely! The best case scenario is if you are laying in wait for them to walk in your ambush – in this case, several Character Moves can enhance your attack. If you are approaching them, you can either rush in, triggering Forge a Path, or sneak in and use Defuse as you deal with their sentries and defences.
Can you count on the cavalry? Vehicles are instrumental in maneuvering and reaching best tactical position safely. Besides, even base gear Vehicles help in soaking up damage. However, no other investment will increase your odds in battle as pumping Mighty/Swift, Durable, Med Bay, Transport and/or Turrets in a Vehicle when Tooling Up.
Lock them down
Do you need to pin them in place to manoeuvre? Strafing and overwatch became popular concepts in modern warfare, and a Defuse with Steel should convince enemy forces to stop their advances and hunker down. Beware, though, if they move in with greater numbers!
BIg enough guns
Is your ordnance adequate for the mission? Melee weapons should only go against Ranged weapons after a stealth approach or a rushed charge, triggering Forge a Path. Remember that the Aberrant tag is there for a reason, and you might find foes who won’t just die with a well-placed bullet. On the other hand, sometimes all you need is exactly ONE very well placed strike! Never underestimate the Elegant and/or Far tags.
Is your gear adequate for the mission? Sure, Tough armour tag saves lives, but it should be your last line of defence. Consider that Comms, Mobile and Camo tags can enable you to bypass conflict altogether. Also, as every force who ever tried to invade Russia can tell you, sometimes your enemies’ attacks are the least of your worries. Andinn the wake of the Fall it’s safe to expect battlefields to be a deadly collection of environmental extremes, pathogens, radiation and more. Again, it is fundamental to know your theater of operations before going in… and not everyone might be ready to do battle there, regardless of martial prowess.
The Best Playbook
Is your skill set adequate for the mission? Besides the holy trinity of war (Hunter, Sentinel, and Untamed), your Machine and the Survivor Characters don’t stay far behind… they are just not as obviously potent as those three. In any case, keep in mind that EVERY character has at least a couple of moves that can save the day or turn the tide of a battle. If you hadn’t pick them you have no place in a battle – duck, cover and get out of the way.
Enemy of my Enemy
Is the engagement clearly defined? Many conflicts are not clear cut two sided affairs. In case conflict between you and this new third party doesn’t escalate too quickly, you might end up rolling an oddly-placed Find Common Ground, or maybe a Defuse using Sway.
Are you hurt? You will be… once the battle begins. If it piles up in minor harm boxes, Shake it Off as soon as tactically viable and find the proper cover to blunt the inevitable response. It is impossible to predict what will change in the battlefield (and what soft or hard reaction the GM will use), so at the very least have assets prepared to support you through Under Orders or Call for Aid. Finally, as prepared as you are, Harm is NOT progressive and one true strike might go straight into critical harm boxes – though that will only tip the balance of the battle for less martial Characters. In that case, thanks for the spirited effort, but it’s time to leave the battle for professionals.
Know When to Fold
Is the battle lost? If so, it might be worthwhile to Fiercely Assault a deadly opposition just so your venue of escape is clear to break off the engagement. Keep in mind that the GM is within their rights to dish out increased Harm as a consequence of a clumsy attack. Give Companions a chance to shine and take one for the team, even if it’s a fatal, pulverizing one. If things look dire enough, consider the party’s Death Move options…