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The Question Man
Hoi Chummers, I was skimming various web sights and game books and noticed that the skill "SMALL UNIT TACTICS" is listed as BOTH an Active Skill or a Knowledge Skill.

So which is it???

QM
Misfit Toy
Man & Machine and Cannon Companion both changed it to an Active Skill since it now grants tangible benefits in combat. If you're not using those rules, it should remain a flavorful Knowledge Skill as per the SR3 rules.
Diesel
Books aside, I'd make it active. Knowing how to execute a play in football is very different from being able to, the difference between KNO: Sports / Football and BOD: Athletics / Football.
Siege
You could easily make it Knowledge for the simple fact that military theory, strategy and tactical assessment is very much a knowledge skill.

Now granted, I'd never allow the silly cheese bonus SMUT currently offers as a Knowledge skill (or at all), but that's just me.

-Siege

Edit: For typos
Cursedsoul
You could treat it as a complimentary skill. Active skill will allow you actually get the bonuses, but the knowledge skill can help you do it better because you'd have a better pool of knowledge from which to draw from.
Siege
Ya know, I just can't accept that.

It sets a dangerous precedent for things like: Handgun (Active) + Combat Shooting (Knowledge).

-Siege
Zephania
Didn't earlier editions have it as an active skill as part of leadership or somthing similar?
Misfit Toy
I have no idea if it did or not, but I've eliminated the Active Skill version of it in my games and replaced it with the actual Leadership skill. SUT (as a Knowledge Skill) then acts as a Complimentary Skill for that, or for Knowledge Skill tests to try and figure out strategies employed by enemy forces and the like.

At least it gives players a reason to take Leadership beyond the "because it fits the character even though its a waste of Active Skill points" aspect.
Zephania
Yeah, I've a problem with most players only taking ettiqette out of the social skill lists and then pretending to be a drek hot ex millitary whatever.

Any one who's ex millitary should have leadership.
Siege
QUOTE (Zephania)
Yeah, I've a problem with most players only taking ettiqette out of the social skill lists and then pretending to be a drek hot ex millitary whatever.

Any one who's ex millitary should have leadership.

Well, if they completed OCS or hit any appreciable position of Command responsibility. However, any grunt will happily tell you stories of the officer who couldn't lead rats off a sinking ship.

Just cause a grunt can handle a rifle doesn't mean he is prepared or capable to Lead.

-Siege
Zephania
Yeah but any army worth its salt puts a lot of emphasis on leadership training for all its soldiers.

That way the guys who actually get into the firefights don't fall apart, they use their initiative and close with and kill the enemy.

Non commisioned officers run Armies and fight the war on the ground (small unit tactics). Officers say take that village, Grunts do the work.
Siege
Sargeants, Lts, even Corporals. But the rank and file enlisted, while they may understand tactics and battle strategy, may not have the skills necessary to motivate and lead.

I'll grant that every soldier who ever issues a command _should_ have Leadership, but in the great character sheet of life, not every rank-and-file enlisted is capable of leading (whether for lack of training or personal ability).

However, every rank and file infantryman can and will pass a test to determine his (or her) skill with more easily measured abilities, like marksmanship and driving.

-Siege
grendel
As others have suggested, Small Unit Tactics is both an active and a knowledge skill. If a player expects to reap the combat benefits from utilizing the skill, though, then the character needs to have the active skill.

I would say that most armed forces do not place a premium on formalized leadership training. Most of the focus is placed on an individual soldier's/sailor's MOS skills, followed by general military training, and lastly by leadership training. Most of the military is very skeptical about the value of any leadership training done in a classroom, and view the skill as something which must be learned hands-on. This is a result of the high visibility failures of several leadership models implemented by the U.S. military in an attempt to improve the perceived skill level of its officers.
Arethusa
It's an active skill if you play by the (completely ridiculous) rules for it in the CC. Otherwise, it's a knowledge skill, as it can and should really only provide information, at which point it is up to the player to analyze and make use of it. But, as it has been noted in other debates, knowledge skills have nothing to do with knowledge per se; they would be far more accurately termed secondary or character skills, as their core intent is to flesh out a character. In similar sense, Leadership would far more sensibly be a knowledge or secondary skill, as it's poitively useless as an active skill.
Clank
Considering that it's listed as both, just so people don't get confused, I would refer to the Knowledge skill as a Background skill.
Zephania
The ability to lead is precisley what sets corporals and sergeants apart from other soldiers. To lead you must have the respect of the men you command, constant training unearths these natural leaders who instinctivly understand how to motivate people. Classroom training comes later after motivation and inspiration amongst their peers have been proved often in adverse conditions.

Oh and by the way, leadership training for soldiers starts day one week one of basic training.

I think that small unit tactics should be a knowledge skill as it is an awful lot of theory wwhereas leadership is definatley an active skill as no amount of book learning can prepare you for an unmotivated individual with an attitude problem.
Arethusa
Zephania, the difference between an active and knowledge skill has nothing to do with real life application. Cooking is most definitely not a pure knowledge skill, and yet it would be one in gameó not because cooking is somehow easier to learn or practice or internalize to an expert degree than handling a rifle, but solely because active skills are skills which relate directly to the game while knowledge skills are secondary that primarily flesh out the character. In that vein, leadership has no tangible, mechanical benefit within SR from the player's point of view and is almost always purely a roleplaying issue. It should, therefore, be a knowledge skill, and this has nothing to do with the (undeniable) significance of leadership on or off the battlefield.

Likewise, unless you play with the flatly insane bonuses that the Cannon Companion's Small Unit Tactics skill gives, Small Unit Tactics would also be a knowledge skill.
toturi
Non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers should have leadership BUT in an conscript army, junior officers are usually just better educated conscripts who perhaps were chosen simply because they had better people skills (Etiquette, Negotiations, etc or even a high Cha).
mfb
the army, at least, incorporates leadership skills in most of its training activities. lower-ranking enlisted are called upon to take charge of everything from classes to morning PT, under the supervision and instruction of a senior enlisted NCO.

that doesn't, however, mean that everyone who comes through the army should have points in SR's Leadership skill. any teacher can tell you that, no matter how hard you try, you can't force someone to learn something--not even in the army. classes and the like are merely opportunities, that must be taken advantage of if you want to gain any benefit from them. most soldiers, honestly, give the opportunities for learning leadership skills a pass--even those who go on to be NCOs. it is my opinion that, in SR terms, most junior NCOs and officers (e-4 through e-6, and 0-1 through 0-2 or 3) are defaulting on their Leadership skills. they negotiate, they intimidate, they might even instruct, but that's not leading. (i'm not faulting them for it--in real life, learning to lead isn't a simple matter of plunking down X karma and annotating your sheet.)
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (toturi)
Non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers should have leadership BUT in an conscript army, junior officers are usually just better educated conscripts who perhaps were chosen simply because they had better people skills (Etiquette, Negotiations, etc or even a high Cha).

Depends heavily on the army in question. I happen to know one where (wartime) junior NCOs and commissioned officers are -- in addition to having better people skills, being better educated and more charismatic -- on average also in a better physical condition, quicker learners, can think more clearly in combat and show capability to lead. Officers more so than NCOs, of course.

There was very little leadership training for us privates, but NCOs and officers certainly got a lot of it. I guess many NCOs might not have had Leadership/Military 1/2 by the end of it, but I'm sure the officers did. As in the US Army, like mfb said, conscript NCOs and COs took charge of almost all training, and they were not even supervised by anyone else than other conscripts except for the more important stuff. There were plenty of week-long excercises without any direct supervision by, or even regular communication with, any higher ranking or enlisted officers.

I'm happy with Small Unit Tactics being an Active skill and providing in-game bonuses (especially to Combat Pool). You can be capable of devising great tactics outside of a situation and yet lack any understanding of the situation let alone capability to think ahead and plan once in the situation. I might have the Military Tactics Knowledge Skill at 1, but I sure as hell lack the Small Unit Tactics active skill.

Personally, as I have said before in several threads about soldier stats, I feel that the one skill the presence and rating of which differentiates between well-trained and functioning soldiers and the other kind is Small Unit Tactics. All soldiers, starting from the very lowest ranks, got shitloads of training for that -- we trained tactics, movement, utilizing cover far more than we ever trained firing our weapons. In terms of training hours, SUT would be second only to Athletics.

I've just got Inaptitude: SUT and stopped trying at some point...
Siege
The idea of offering a benefit during a firefight, being measured in seconds is just absurd.

On a larger scale, yes - it can offer some benefit. And offering a blanket CP bonus is perhaps the best way to reflect that.

But most shadowrunners aren't fighting as a coordinated unit - however, the sec guards do.

Should we start outfitting sec guard field commanders with dedicated chipjacks for Leadership and SMUT?

-Siege
Madda_Gaska
QUOTE
Should we start outfitting sec guard field commanders with dedicated chipjacks for Leadership and SMUT?


Rather than the Smutty BTLs they're currently chipping?

I would've expected the heavy support (as in the stuff that the guards on site would call when they realised there was a troll currently ambling towards one of the facility entrances with an automatic weapon and the body (sans head) of their buddy) would have leaders equipped with that sort of stuff (or even trained in it) though.
Well, as long as it was a moderately large security company. If it was an ex-runner sec-company then all bets are off.
Misfit Toy
If they're a group of security guards who've trained to work together on a regular basis, they certainly should have Small Unit Tactics. Though few would or do except maybe at high security sites. Few runner groups have the skills, too. While available, the annoyance of the system and skill investments are usually not worth the benefit.

But if you have the concept, the skills, and the implants, you might as well take advantage of it. It's obvious the skill is supposed to represent how well small teams like SWAT and SEAL teams work together. It's not your everyday "grunt, do this and that" skill which anyone can do, but won't net you any benefit.

Gaining one or two extra Combat Pool can be nice, but its hardly a game breaker. Same goes with an equal Initiative bonus.
Austere Emancipator
As loathe as I am to do it, I'm going to use computer FPS games as an example here. Especially when playing multiplayer FPS games, you can make a large number of important decisions on a nearly subconscious level in the span of a 5-second firefight. Do I dash right or left? Should I keep moving or get a better position here?

And all the time you're thinking about things like whether you should have cover on your right flank or your left flank, depending on where there's going to be more enemies. You pick the exact right moment to move or to fire, depending on where the enemy is paying attention, etc. All these add up to a tactical advantage once the shooting does begin. All those little things, the ones perhaps not significant enough to be mentioned IC by themselves, are best represented in SR by a Combat Pool bonus.

I partly agree, however, that 3 seconds might be too short a time span to make a "new set of tactical decisions" or whatever a new SUT roll should be described as. Instead, you could allow a no-action SUT roll when combat begins for everyone expecting it, but requiring some action (Simple or Complex) for everyone else or when someone wants to re-roll it. The bonus from such a roll would remain until the combat ends or there is a significant change in the action -- as determined by the GM.

[Edit]The above mostly describes the use of SUT to gain bonuses for yourself, not for your team. I feel that in this way it would be extremely useful even for someone in a team they are not used to or even when in combat alone. "Small Unit Tactics" is still an appropriate name for it, IMNSHO, because you always struggle to be aware of what the whole enemy team and your whole team is doing.

You can do this even when fighting with strangers -- using Small Unit Tactics with people you have trained/fought with extensively might confer a TN bonus. Or the other way around, forcing a TN penalty when you know nothing about the friendlies.[/Edit]

I'm not that sure about the usefulness of the Leadership skill in a basic Shadowrun combat, though. That is certainly a skill that really comes into play in longer engagements, especially in keeping up unit morale. That's rarely an issue in Shadowrun, where secguards tend to die before they get a chance to panic.
Siege
I find it difficult to believe that someone yammering in your ear can offer you any tangible benefit during the course of 3-5 seconds.

After a certain point, it comes down to personal skill and all the SUT won't help you move faster, shoot better or make individual assessments over the course of 3-5 seconds.

-Siege
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Siege)
I find it difficult to believe that someone yammering in your ear can offer you any tangible benefit during the course of 3-5 seconds.

So do I. Like I said, I even think 3 seconds might be too short a time to warrant a new SUT roll for yourself, let a lone a new roll to "give advice" to teammates. Which is why I roll SUT once when combat begins and allow rerolls (or 1st rolls for people caught off-guard) with a Complex Action, or Simple Action with the CyberTac.

QUOTE (Siege)
After a certain point, it comes down to personal skill and all the SUT won't help you move faster, shoot better or make individual assessments over the course of 3-5 seconds.

Small Unit Tactics = personal skill and making individual assessments.
Siege
Some interesting links:

Military Tactics

[URL=file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/student/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Content.IE5/GPM7WHU7/256,1,INTRODUCTION TO TACTICS]ROTC tactics[/URL]

I've always intepreted SUT as applying to squad level operations - room clearing, ambushes, etc.

Which may explain my overall dislike of this skill. grinbig.gif

-Siege
Austere Emancipator
Just interpret it like I do and your problems will be a thing of the past. wink.gif
mfb
the 3-second problem isn't native to SUT, it's native to the combat system itself. breaking combat down into 3-second spurts is, honestly, insane; it makes for impossible efficiency in the combatants. no one ever reacts to getting hurt, no one ever looks around to assess the situation (unless they've got enough ranks in SUT to make it worthwhile), no one ever cringes when a grenade goes off nearby, or ducks when someone else is being shot at, or any of the things real people do in firefights. instead, they act with an economy of action that the most combat-hardened elite special forces types couldn't begin to match in real life.
Siege
Until you've been in that kind of situation, people find it hard to believe what terror actually feels like.

And gamers still look at pencil and paper for the best number combinations rather than imagining the experience, never mind with any degree of accuracy.

-Siege
Austere Emancipator
But, frankly, using any other number of seconds to represent one Combat Turn would be equally insane, just perhaps for other reasons. As the "efficiency" problem gradually goes away it is replaced by ever greater RoF problems (people should be allowed to fire several magazines worth of rounds on semi-automatic, which fucks up gameplay) and movement problems (people should be allowed to run an extremely long distance inbetween CTs, so that someone who was 5 meters away during the last 3-round burst is suddenly 80 meters away for the next burst, which fucks up gameplay), etc etc.

I happen to enjoy 3 seconds much more than, say, 10 seconds. And assuming you use 3 second Combat Turns, fixing the efficiency problem with the SUT skill only requires a tiny bit of house ruling and a slightly non-canon interpretation of the skill.
mfb
to me, it's easier to fix ROF and movement problems than it is to keep players from taking full advantage of the shorter combat turns.
Austere Emancipator
Great. Then you can tell me, how can one have 10-second Combat Turns and realistic movement rates without the "traveled 80 meters inbetween 2 semi-auto shots" problem? That's the one that has always baffled me. And another is: How can you have realistic RoFs in a 10-second CT without causing ridiculous situations where one character empties a machine gun belt at one guy before the other reacts? The latter is easier to fix, I'm sure.
mfb
i said easier. they're easier to fix because they're just mathematics, as opposed to the magical hoodoo you'd have to accomplish in order to convince players to not use their time in combat so wisely.

personally, i think ten seconds is a bit too long. six seconds would be better.
Austere Emancipator
How would you propose to do the math, then? The only thing I can think of is that if the CT is 6 seconds, it is divided by the "initiative points" a character has, which determine how much stuff or how soon the character can achieve, and you calculate each action to take some specific amount of time.

That way you can allow characters to move a certain amount inbetween shots fired instead of in huge leaps. But it does nothing to help the RoF-problem. The latter you could try to work around by forcing players to declare actions in the beginning of the CT and then work through the actions in short steps (such as one shot at a time) through the CT, but that can also lead to completely ridiculous situations. For example, a character wants to shoot at someone for 6 seconds, but nails the target in one shot -- he now stands dumfounded for 5.5 seconds, because he can't declare anything else to do.

Etc etc. I'm almost certain there is no way you can completely get around these inherent problems relating to any specific amount of seconds you declare a Combat Turn/Round/Whatever to be, and the best CT length is always whatever suits your style of playing best. At least within a frame of 1 second to 1 minute.
mfb
i'm not sure how a six-second combat round could possibly make things worse than SR's current system, myself. regardless, as i said, it's still a math problem. math problems are inherently easier to solve than social/psychological ones. that's why there are so many more solved math problems than there are cured crazy people.
Austere Emancipator
Not worse for yourself, maybe. But for the reasons I already mentioned, I prefer 3-second combat rounds. Personal preference. And I happen to think all the problems I associated with lengthening combat turns above can't be made to disappear by simple applications of math -- I'm not saying they can't be, but unless someone can show some math which does make the problems go away, unsolvable math problems are not inherently nicer than unsolvable social/psychological problems.
Keneun
QUOTE (Siege)

I've always intepreted SUT as applying to squad level operations - room clearing, ambushes, etc.

Which may explain my overall dislike of this skill. grinbig.gif


I agree. SUT is something that is only useful if all members of the unit have knowledge in the correct practices. If one member does something that exposes the rest of the unit or requires the unit to do something risky then the group is no longer using SUT.

So it is my opinion that SUT is a knowledge skill that is only useful if all members have skill. Also as stated before it is not realistic to have someone bark order to everyone in the unit in combat situation. You many be able to hear the order but if you have no experience in their practice it is a waste of time.

Misfit Toy
If it's really a problem, just alter Small Unit Tactics.

Make it take one action to analyze the situation and form a plan, another action to transmit the data across the network, and then only have the benefits of that plan manifest at the beginning of the next Combat Turn. If the leader has a cybernetic implant like the Tactical Computer, each one of those actions is a Simple Action otherwise its a Complex Action. Either way, the leader still loses at least one full Initiative Pass just getting the team in shape.

For normal characters -- like every real-life example you can think of today -- that's going to take at least 6 or even 9 seconds (two to three Combat Turn) on average just to get the orders out and 3 seconds on rare occasions. For characters with a cybernetic implant, its 3 seconds. For reflex-enhanced characters, it's still a minimum of 3 seconds.

If you still have a problem with cybernetic/reflex-enhanced characters doing significantly better in combat than a normal unaugmented character, well, that's a problem with your suspension of disbelief more than anything else. smile.gif
Austere Emancipator
Frankly, I don't get why it's so difficult to think of SUT as a personal skill. It can already be used by yourself on yourself without any other friendlies around. By far the most important aspect of the skill is to understand the situation and how to take advantage of it (or to cut losses, as the case may be).

That can be applied to yourself regardless of what other people, friends or foes, are doing around you. You can always use your tactical skill to your advantage. I do not want a highly skilled combatant to suddenly lose that advantage just because people around him aren't skilled. You can use tactics, you can devise plans and execute them, even if the rest of your team is a bunch of morons. Of course it's more difficult to fight with a bunch of morons on your side, but that is (and should be) represented by something other than magically losing all your tactical cunning.

There's nothing wrong with Misfit Toy's suggestion for increasing the time required for effective use of "top-down" SUT.
Misfit Toy
I don't have a personal problem with it as written myself. I was just offering a suggestion.
Austere Emancipator
I figured as much, I just wanted to make sure that people who do have a problem with 3-sec tactical briefings pay attention to your suggestion.
mfb
personally, i'd like to see SUT work with other people who have SUT. in real life, most of the functions SUT covers in-game are covered by training to the point where it becomes reflexive--room-clearing procedures, lanes of fire, etcetera. you don't have one guy calling out orders as the team moves in and does its thing; that's all handled beforehand, with predefined one-word commands (in that sense, SUT's 3-second tactical briefs make perfect sense--it works like football calls). maybe rolling SUT once at the beginning of combat, with the maximum number of successes being equal to the lowest SUT skill in the group?
Austere Emancipator
I'd agree, except that I still feel a person with a high SUT skill should get a significant bonus even if some of his teammates don't have a single rank in SUT. You can utilize good tactics even if your teammates don't.
Madda_Gaska
You can utilise better tactics than your team-mates, but then you hit a minor problem as I see it.

See, it might make more sense for you to be in one particular position three seconds from now, but if everyone else is working off a different (slightly worse) plan then you are out of position and presumably putting everyone at risk.

I can't claim any real experience in this area, but I would have thought that everyone has to be playing the same game otherwise you lose (if you're lucky) efficiency or (if you're not lucky) one or more team-members.
mfb
hilariously, high SUT doesn't mean you've got a better tactical understanding--it just means you're better able to communicate what you know. by all rights, SUT TNs should be based on the tactical situation, not whether you're using a radio or handsigns. the method of communication should certainly limit the upper range of your success at using SUT, but it shouldn't be the defining factor.
Misfit Toy
As far as I know, the communications method only affects the TN, it doesn't set the TN (something like hand signals is +0, radio link is -1, and cyberlink is -2). It's been a while since I've read up on those rules in detail, though.
mfb
regardless, the actual situation itself doesn't affect the TN. one guy standing around the corner with a knife presents the same difficulty to SUT as four guys hiding behind the furniture with automatic weapons in a room behind a locked door.
Austere Emancipator
I don't see why it should, either. Your successes on the SUT test (when used on yourself) only represent how well you understand the tactical situation and how well you can take advantage of it. Just because the enemy is more skilled doesn't mean you're suddenly incapable of using tactics yourself.

It's just that your tactical skill will not save your ass when 4 guys with automatic weapons are waiting for you in a room behind a locked door. In that situation, a few more CP dice won't make much of a difference.
mfb
i'm not talking about using it on yourself, though, i'm talking about using it for your team. that's the main purpose of the skill, after all. and, regardless of who it's being used on, saying that the tactical situation should not affect the difficulty of your SUT roll is as crazy as saying d20 is unrealistic (laugh, that's a joke). rangers, SWAT, delta, and the like don't go through thousands of hours of close-combat training because god created all tactical situations equally. in a situation where the enemy is well-prepared, it should be harder to formulate a plan that gives you an advantage over them.
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