Scouting: This skill includes all the skill bonuses listed under the Search skill and supersedes it on the list of military skills. Everyone still starts with the Search skill at 0, and they can still buy higher levels, but since the Scouting skill includes the Search skill plus other skills it is a better buy. In addition to the search bonuses this skill allows characters to set up and detect ambushes. Track people and animals, and avoid hazards when searching ruins.
First, a distinction needs to be made between spotting and detecting. Spotting is done during combat and uses the rules as listed in Car Wars Tanks. The Scouting skill can be substituted for the Search skill with no penalty. Detection takes place before combat and covers such things as ambushes or standing sentry. (See notes for why I make this distinction.)
Detecting Ambushes: A person without the Scout skill detects ambushes on a 12 or higher on 2 d6. Someone with the Scout skill detects ambushes on a 9 or better +1 per level above 0. A roll to detect an ambush is allowed once for every alert character as soon as the group is within ambush range. If one or more characters make their roll the ambush is detected. If they all miss they get no other chance to detect the ambush and must walk into it.
When an ambush is detected it is spotted a certain number of seconds before it is sprung, regardless of distances between the ambusher and the ambushee. Non scouts will detect ambushes 1 to 3 seconds before it occurs. Scouts detect ambushes 1 d6 seconds plus 2 seconds for every level above 0, before they occur. These extra seconds can be used by the character for whatever actions they chose before the ambushers have a chance to fire. (At this point GM’s may require the Scout and others to make search rolls to see the ambushers, or rule that the Scout has automatically spotted several of them.) All ambushers are fired on at a -1 or -2 (GM’s choice). This represents cover and concealment. The following modifiers affect the detection roll and are cumulative.
+3 if no one in the ambushing group has the Scout skill.
+1 for every 5 people, rounded down, in the ambushing group that don’t have the scout skill at any level.
+1 for every enemy vehicle or 2 riding animals in the ambushing group.
+0 if ambushers in light cover. Small trees or shrubs, or minor hills. (This is what the starting detection roll is based on, and is the minimum cover which must be available.)
-1 for each level above 0 of the single highest Scout skill of the persons setting up the ambush. (Example: If one ambusher had Scout 1 and another Scout 2 only a -2 would be applied to the detection roll.)
-1 if trying to detect an ambush while in a moving vehicle.
-1 for every full 20 mph the vehicle is moving.
-1 if light rain or mist.
-1 if dawn or dusk.
-2 if heavy rain, snow or fog.
-3 if night.
-1 if night and have light intensifying goggles.
-2 if trying to detect an ambush while driving (cumulative with moving vehicle penalties).
-1 ambushers in medium cover. Like woods, boulders, and the occasional building.
-2 ambushers in heavy cover. Like buildings, lots of little hills, or dense jungle or forests.
Springing an ambush: If an ambush is not detected it may be sprung by the ambushers with the following benefits. All first shots may be considered aimed, and braced, where appropriate. Cover and concealment provide an extra -2 penalty for the ambushers to be hit. Scouts who are ambushed freeze for 1 second regardless of level. Non Scouts freeze for 1d6 seconds. Freezing means pedestrians or riders may not react but must stand and get shot at. Vehicles must continue traveling in the direction they were going the second before the ambush was sprung and may not fire, but may slow down or swerve to avoid hazards.
Sentry duty: When a person is on sentry duty he will have one chance to detect each incoming hostile. A 6 or higher must be rolled for a Scout. A 7 or higher for a non Scout. A 2 is always a failure to detect someone on foot, but not if they’re in a vehicle. This roll is only necessary if the hostile is making an effort to sneak up on the area being guarded. Each sentry covers one or more zones and only gets one roll to detect each person or vehicle coming through a zone. A normal compound will have at least 4 zones with large or odd shaped compounds having more. A zone is approximately a 100 to 150 yard length of a compounds side and extends away from that side to the edge of the sentries line of site. (Zones may overlap.) The sentry can be moving no faster than 10 mph. The following modifiers apply to sentry duty and are cumulative.
+3 if the in coming hostile does not have the Scouting skill. (Either driving, riding, or on foot.)
+4 to detect a hostile vehicle.
+1 per level of Scout or Search skill above 0 the sentry has.
+1 if a riding animal is being used by the hostile.
+1 if using binoculars or other detection optics.
+1 if using thermographs.
+1 if using radar.
Hostiles movement speed. Use the spotting modifiers from the rules.
-1 to the roll for each level of Scout skill the hostile has over 0.
-1 if the hostile is wearing camouflage.
-1 for every 4 full hours the sentry has been on duty.
-1 if raining or foggy.
-1 if watching a zone through video cameras rather than being there in person.
-2 to detect a hostile if the sentry is moving. (Either on foot or in a vehicle.)
-3 if night.
-1 if night and have light intensifying goggles.
-3 per zone covered by the sentry after the first. (Example: A sentry covering 3 zones would be at -6 to all detection rolls for each zone.)
Detection Distances (This is the range at which the hostile has a chance to be detected and if the roll is successful, the range at which he is first spotted.) Use only the best terrain that the sentry can see into. Example: If a hostile must first cross through buildings (heavy ground) and then across a parking lot (open terrain), the detection roll would be made at the parking lot. These are rough numbers and the GM should modify the detection distance on a case by case basis.
Open terrain: Deserts, parking lots, roads, flat lands. 2d6 X 100 yards.
Light hills or ground cover: Plains, scrub lands. 1d6 X 50 yards.
Medium ground cover: Forests or hills. 1d6 +1 X 10 yards
Heavy ground cover: Dense woods or jungles. Towns or cities. 1d6 +1 X 5 yards.
Tracking men or animals over terrain requires a 9 or higher on 2 d6.
+1 for every level of the Scout skill or a hunting skill above 0 of the tracker.
-1 for every level of the Scout skill or a hunting skill of the person being tracked.
+2 for each person being tracked that doesn't have the Scout skill, a hunting skill, or the Survival skill.
+3 if tracking a vehicle.
+2 if tracking in damp conditions, but not raining. If it is raining subtract 1 instead.
+3 if tracking in snow, but not snowing. If it is snowing subtract 2 instead.
-1 for every 4 hours the trail has lain cold.
A new tracking roll should be made every 10 to 30 minutes depending on the conditions. In order to make a tracking roll the scout must be on foot and take about 10 minutes to survey the scene.
Avoiding hazards: Finally this skill provides a bonus of +2 when attempting to avoid injuries while searching dangerous places like ruins or caves. (See future article on post-apocalyptic living for details on searching ruins.)
Here’s why I decided to create the Scout skill. First, the Search skill doesn't have enough options to make it worth spending points on. My gaming group rarely used the skill and when we did it was usually for tracking, or trying to detect ambushes. Then there was the problem of setting ambushes. What skill did one use to set one successfully? How did that affect spotting rolls? How about covering ones tracks when escaping? Could the Search skill be used to detect hazards when searching abandon buildings? From all these questions the Scout skill was created. Characters still receive the Search skill at 0 level for free, and can buy higher levels in it, but now it is more profitable to invest any starting points in the scout skill instead.
Detection versus spotting. Under the Search rules when a character comes within spotting distance of an ambush he would begin rolling his Search skill for every single ambusher every second they were in the arc he was searching. If the ambush was taking place at long distances with several ambushers this could result in the possibility of hundreds of search rolls. The same thing goes for people sneaking up on a guarded area. Were the sentries looking in the direction of the hostile every second? Did they use binoculars or other detection devices every second? If they only used binoculars part of the time the detection range would change continuously and dramatically from second to second. Too much!
Thus search rolls are only conducted once combat is joined to see other hostiles that were not originally detected. Detection is used before fighting starts to find hostiles so combat can be initiated. The detection roll tries to take into consideration all possibilities and simplify it to one roll.