Concept:

The players are engaged in a battle in an underground location marked by the fact that the battlefield exists in multiple dimensions, with attack from above and below possible, rather than just combat being relegated to a single room/chamber. Players must be aware of this fact, combined with elements of claustrophobia and the chance of being isolated from the rest of their team mates. The Battle makes use of multiple groups on both sides moving through a zoned map of the battleground, and a key element in winning the battle is controlling zones and denying the other side access to them.

Units:

Battle in the Geofront uses squads as its basic level of unit, and only when the PCs themselves enter combat is it laid out on the tabletop. Each squad is given a basic attack value, defense value, health indicator, initiative, and special equipment. A quick roll will determine which side holds, and which fails. In the case of ties, the win is given to whomever is the defender in the situation.

Sample Units

Panzer Police

Attack - 2D6

Defense - 3D6

Health - 12 per man in unit

Initiative - 1d4

Special - Thermal Sensors (resist ambush) Combat training, automatic gain initiative in hand to hand

GeoFront Riot Squad

Attack - 1D8

Defense - 1D6

Health - 4 per man in unit

Initiative - 1d10

Special - IED, can set zone based explosives dealing 4D6 area damage. Incendiary, fire based weapons deal 2D8 damage and set zone on fire for a round. Street Stealth, if Riot Squad surfaces it can return to the geofront through a different entrance from the street level two rounds later.

Zones

The prototype Geofront Battle map has four vertical layers: Street, Subway Access, Sewer, and Mechanical

Street Zone is moving above ground, and in the Battle in the Geofront, the Street Level is engaged in an ongoing riot, with police and protestors actively engaged in combat. Panzer police cannot enter the street level, doing so they expose themselves, and the rioters will stop them, either attacking the men as they climb out, or doing things like pushing cars or dumpsters over access points. Riot Squads can move freely through the Street level so long as they control 50% or more of the Geofront zones.

Subway Access is a municipal zone where citizens would normally enter subway mass transit systems. Subway access has regular access points at each end, Access North and Access South. The main level is a long rectangle and has zones like multiple loading platforms (1-3) where passengers would enter the trains. Side zones extend from the access level and can include things like Storefront zones, Ticketing Zones, and the like. Keep things interesting with zones that connect the backsides of the store zones, but dont connect to the central loading platform zones. The Subway Access Zone can be massively extended by adding tunnels for the train, and they are the only way to access a different entire station on the level, with the entry point being something like Demeter Station, and following two miles of tunnel the squads can hit Athena Station

Sewer Zone runs under the Subway Access Zone and can be accessed from the Street Zone, and from Subway Access. Going from Subway to Sewer is faster, but there are way fewer access points, possibly even only one connection. Moving from Street to Sewer involves a full round action, as squads are moving up and down confined tunnels and have to pause to move and replace manhole covers. If a squad attempts a street to sewer incursion, or sewer to street escape in a contested zone, the attacker can do an attack of opportunity, basically shooting people trying to climb a metal rung ladder, incapable of evasion or returning fire. Taking the Sewer level should be highly difficult, while holding it should be easier, forcing the attacker to throw squads away trying to hold access points, and sweep sections, while defenders are able to move from one section to another by going up to the street level and dropping back down, or once the attackers have claimed the subway as theirs, mounting a major attack from the street and smashing them with highly mobile but expendable squads.

The Mechanical Zone is under the Sewer and rather than a connected maze of sections, rooms, and corridors, mechanical should be mostly boltholes and a few corridors for defenders to stage desperate last stands, requiring the attacker to bring overwhelming force to bear, or suffer the defenders rallying and throwing them back.

Victory and Defeat

The easiest measure of who won is who, at the end of their points, controls the largest amount of the Geofront. After the winner versus loser is determined, the cost of materials and squads lost is brought into consideration. A win where the loser lost less material is a pyrric victory, and leads to loss of morale on the side that won, giving the losing side a morale bonus in the next campaign (sure, they beat us, but look at how fucking much it cost them? We bled, but they died for that win.). Marginal and decisive victory is determined by how much more the losing side actually lost. Marginal victories and defeats have modest effect, as the typical response to a marginal win/lose is a second battle in the same location. Decisive action ends said Geofront as a location for a potential campaign.

Form and Function

The anime Jin-Roh: the Wolf Battalion starts with a stunning battle in the sewers of a major city, with combat happening from different levels, and moving through confined spaces. The ideal of Battle in the Geofront is an attempt to match the energy and direction of this heavily armed gunfight in a confined space, without it turning into a full on hex-map table top wargaming nightmare.

Other Uses

While the inspiration for Battle in the GeoFront is armored police versus protestors, it could easily be swapped for a bug hunt, or an actual urban conflict, with the zone system staying in place. This could give the players the chance to control the organic flow of a battle through a city, without hours of building to building fighting (unless its their PCs storming the hotel, or parking garage).

Just as the forces involved can be changed, the location can be changed as well, swapping out the Geofront for an urban environment, where each building might be sectioned into a single zone, or each floor is a zone, where storming the building feels more like a ship vs ship boarding action.

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