Using allies for the first time this weekend, tips?

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Using allies for the first time this weekend, tips?

#1 Postby HawaiiSteveO » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:08 am

Reloaded, planning big 'ole scrap at the end of 'Guess Who's Coming to Donner' adventure.

Should be 4 players, thinking 4 Extra guards accompanying them (so each player also runs 1 Extra). Or do all the players run all the extras as a group?

Bad guys are Wild Card Lanford Hastings BBEG and his army of his Frozen Dead minions (adventure says 1 for every 2 posse members so thinking 4-5 total to keep everyone busy).

I do ONE ally sheet with all the guards on it and give a copy to each players or let them pass it around? Allied extras act on same count as each WC player.

Any other tips / suggestions?

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Re: Using allies for the first time this weekend, tips?

#2 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:07 am

Allied Extras are a great resource, letting you give firepower, meat shields, and additional chances at success to your players. Because the players roll for their allies, the ally's success becomes the player's success.

In my experience, having a copy of the ally stats for each player is a good thing that speeds up play significantly. It also makes it more difficult for players to forget about their Extras.

Generally, ally extras should act on the action card of the player controlling those particular Extras. If each player is controlling one then on each player card both the player character and the extra act.

If you use minis, you should make sure to have a mini for each of the allies. Play up the value of Gang Up Bonus, and make sure your players are thinking of it. Gang Up Bonus for one or two rounds is enough benefit to justify the trouble of bringing the Extras along.

For encounter scaling, 4 ally extras generally count as one additional wild card player character. So having three or four Frozen Dead should be good. If the posse is particularly good at killing groups then adding one or two more may make sense.

Good luck!
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Re: Using allies for the first time this weekend, tips?

#3 Postby kronovan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:35 am

I've only had them in my Weird Wars and Iron Dynasty campaigns. In WW Tour of Darkness where allies generally filled out a squad to 10 characters, I had the players draw a separate action card for all of them. In some of my homebrewed military encounters when fights are platoon sized, I've divided them up into fire teams and had the players draw a separate card for the allies in each team. In Iron Dynasty I had allies act on the players card, as thematically the allies tended to be samurai or ninja from the PC's clans. Either worked fine.

I always allowed each player to control at least 1ally. Not doing that can make for some lengthy waits before a non-controlling ally player gets another turn. So I recommend distributing them among players and if there's more than 1 per player, allow the players most experience with SWD to control them.

ValhallaGH wrote:For encounter scaling, 4 ally extras generally count as one additional wild card player character.

Well in RAW they're Combat Rating is halved when calculating the parties' overall CR, so based on that 2 ally extras count as 1 wild card. That said, I have often changed ally extras (and enemy extras) in WW by allowing them to take 1 wound, as they can go down too easily to allow for good tactical gameplay in combat encounters. Even then, they were no where near the threat of a WC. So in that regard, your statement may be closer to reality; or maybe it's 3 standard (out with 1 wound) allies count as 1 wild card. ;)

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Re: Using allies for the first time this weekend, tips?

#4 Postby Freemage » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:12 pm

I've seen both methods (distribute the allies among all players, or have one player run all the allies together) work.

The former seems a better fit for your situation; we used the single-player method primarily in a situation where that player was the "Command" character (like the captain of a ship where the Extras were all crew)--since usually their direct combat ability was a bit less than spectacular, letting them direct the 'troops' helped balance out the spotlight issues.

Your situation is more like a band of volunteer posse-men; unless you've got a sheriff or somesuch in the group, spreading them out seems to make the most sense.

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Re: Using allies for the first time this weekend, tips?

#5 Postby Mavis » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:54 pm

Always let the players play and roll for them, I think it helps the players develop some 'affection' for them. They tend to die real easy, especially if the players don't take care of them.

They can be a useful shield to the PC's if the GM's dice turn bad, play GM bennies to keep them alive if it would help the PC's out of a difficult situation, even if that just makes the extra the target of the enemy attacks the next round.

Also use a GM benny to save one if that Extra has done something noteworthy. In my experience Extra's performing heroic deeds with the dice tend to develop into much loved NPC's.

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