Chapter 34: Ambush

The entire point of an ambush is to gain surprise on an opponent, and during the confusion of surprise inflict as much damage as possible. Ambush is an entirely combat related event. There are two phases to an ambush: ambush detection, and ambush effects.

Huh? What? Huh?
Huh? What? Huh?

Detecting an Ambush

Ambush detection begins long before the victims are even suspicious of an ambush. It begins when the ambush itself is being prepared. Poorly devised ambushes are easier to detect because of either poor choice of location, or poor personnel, spoiling the ruse. The most difficult to detect ambushes are those devised by aliens with natural ambush ability. The chance of personas detecting an ambush is dependant on a series of AWE attribute rolls. The difficulty of the AWE attribute roll is determined on Table 34.1 Ambush Detection. The more complex the ambush the more difficult the AwE roll required. The order in which personas get to attempt to detect an ambush can be chosen by the referee, or decided by initiative rolls.

Some anthropomroph races, felines and avarians in particular, are better at detecting ambushes than others. Detecting an ambush does not allow a counter ambush to be prepared. The ambushing expedition is considered combat ready, and waiting for the targets to appear. Successful ambush detection indicates that the persona will participate in initiative just like regular combat. Failed ambush detection  indicates that the persona is simply standing around shocked and unable to react during the ambush (ouch!).

Table 34.1 Ambush Detection

What kind of attribute roll is needed depends on the type of ambush.
Difficulty of AWE rollDie RollNature of Ambush
DifficultyDie Roll
Easy1d10Poorly organized. Not so smart ambushers.
Normal1d20Non natural ambush.
Hard1d30Planned ambush.
Tough1d50Well planned. Trained ambushers.
Impossible1d100Indigenous species. Mechanical ambushes.
Bizarre1d1000Natural alien ambush abilities. Robotic programmed ambush.

When the expedition gets a chance to detect the ambush can be of great importance. If only one persona detects the ambush, she may be able to divert the course of the hapless expedition—on the other hand she may only have enough time to get herself some cover. If the ambush is poorly organized, or involves large vehicles or large animals the personas may detect it very far away. If the ambush is fast, from the air, or has some other such feature, the personas may only have a few moments. The amount of warning given for a detected ambush is decided by the referee.

Effect of Ambush

The effect of an ambush is to create confusion within the ambushed targets. The confusion of the personas being ambushed allows the ambushers to attack unanswered for a few units. The Ambush Detection Roll (AWE attribute roll) is made by every persona that is being ambushed. An ambush is considered completely successful if every member of the target expedition fails their AWE  attribute roll. Target personas that were successful with their Ambush Detection Roll (AWE attribute roll) are not surprised by the attack and get to join in combat as normal. Those  personas who failed their Ambush Detection Roll are subject to the effect of ambush. 

Table 34.2 Ambush Effects

The number of units that the attacker enjoys before the ambushee can respond.
Unit of AmbushChance to Join Success ResultFailure Result
UnitChance to JoinSuccessFailure
First UnitMust Make Ambush Detection roll.Join Initiative RollMay not attack or move.
Second UnitMust make AWE and DEX attribute rolls.Join Initiative RollMay not attack or move.
Third UnitMust make AWE OR DEX attribute roll.Join Initiative RollMay not attack. May move.
Fourth UnitNo roll needed.Join Initiative Roll. Join Initiative Roll.
Trophies come to the patient bunny.
Trophies come to the patient bunny.

Example Ambush

Let’s consider a rather intelligent herd of indigenous life forms that have prepared an ambush for an unsuspecting expedition. The ambushers are well organized, and indigenous. So each target persona must make an Ambush Detection Roll of Improbable (1d100) AWE attribute roll.

One of the target personas is a feline, and she makes her Improbable (1d100) Ambush Detection Roll. The next target persona is just plain lucky, and she also makes with her Improbable (1d100) Ambush Detection Roll. All the remaining personas, they all fail their Improbable (1d100) Ambush Detection Roll and are at the mercy of the ambushers.

First Unit: The aliens attack the expedition. The only combatants that can act are the ambushing aliens and the two personas that made their Improbable Ambush Detection Roll. (the feline and the lucky persona). Initiative is rolled normally, but successfully ambushed personas cannot attack or move. They are sitting meat bags. This means that those personas that failed to detect the ambush just stand there and get attacked. They are not defenceless and their Armour Ratings still apply, but they cannot move nor attack in response.

Second Unit: Those personas that stood around gaping in the first unit will get a chance to act in the second unit. If they make both Improbable (1d100)  AWE and DEX attribute rolls they can join the Initiative roll otherwise they stand around again. Any persona that took damage from a type A (thrusting or striking) weapon in the first unit may automatically join in the Initiative Roll of the second unit. So in the second unit all the ambushing aliens would roll initiative.  The feline and the lucky persona would  make Initiative Rolls. Any of the ambushed personas damaged by type A attacks would make Initiative Rolls. Any players that made the Improbable attribute rolls on DEX and AWE could participate. Any remaining personas are still targets awestruck meat.

Third Unit: For those personas that are still standing around like tourists at their own funeral may join in the Initiative Roll if they make either an Improbable DEX or an Improbable AWE roll, or if they were damaged in the second unit by a type A attack. For those personas that are still not part of the action they may move but not attack. More precisely they may run away but they can only do this at the end of the unit.

Fourth Unit: The pain for the ambushed personas has ended and all may participate in combat as normal.