Archive for the ‘Optional Rules’ Category


Integrated Morale

By R.J. Andron

Designer’s Notes: These rules are an attempt to incorporate the human factor into Phoenix Command simulation. As combatants engage the enemy, a variety of factors will eat away at their effectiveness on the field. When bullets fly past a combatant, the natural reaction is to start being much more concerned about self preservation. Combatants will spend more effort molding themselves to cover, observing for the enemy, and hesitating before committing to action. All of these make combatants less effective on the battlefield. These types of reactions can be categorized as morale–the human factor determining the effectiveness of the combat unit.

This set of rules tries to simulate that and integrate it in an easy way with the normal flow of a PCSACS game.

The Rules


All combatants will now have a “Morale State” which can change between one of four states, which are listed on the table below.

Morale State  

CA Multiplier


DSL Bonus


Spotting CA Bonus

























All combatants start at the Bold Level, unless otherwise specified in the scenario.

Example: A group of four bank robbers is holding guns on two corporate executives hostages. The leader of the robbers and one of his men start at the Bold morale state, while the other two robbers, who have had doubts about the robbery, start at the Cautious Morale State. The Hostages start at the Frightened and Panicked state.

As can be seen from the above table, people in different morale states will have different levels of combat effectiveness. The columns in the table are defined as follows:

Morale State: A description of the person’s behavior in a particular moment in a combat situation.

CA Multiplier: This is a multiple of the person’s CA and represents the amount of Offensive CA the person is capable of taking in a phase. As the person’s morale degrades, they are able to take fewer and fewer offensive actions, and their CA tends to be spent more and more on Defensive actions. In all cases, Offensive CA is rounded up to the nearest whole number. Offensive CA is CA spent on offensive actions–aiming, shooting, combat, moving towards an enemy, reloading a weapon, and so forth. As an optional rule, characters whose morale state is frightened are unable to spend more than 1AC on aiming. Characters who are panicked cannot even do that.

Example: One of the bank robbers is Green-quality (SL 2, 4 CA) and starts at Bold. When his morale state changes to Cautious, his offensive CA drops from 4 to (4 * 0.75 = ) 3 CA. This means that he c an use 3 CA in offensive actions. He still has his 4 CA, but the remaining CA can only be used for defensive purposes.

DSL Bonus: This number is the change to the combatant’s DSL ALM and represents a person’s tendency to make themselves a smaller target as he becomes more and more unsettled.

Example: Our bank robber’s DSL is +3 under normal circumstances–when he is in a Bold Morale state. When his morale state changes to Cautious, his DSL changes from +3 to +3-1= +2, meaning he is taking more time in using cover and is trying to really avoid getting shot.

Spotting CA bonus: This is the bonus number of CA which a combatant can spend on spotting attempts–if he so chooses. These CA are considered free CA and can be used in conjunction with other actions.

Example: Our bank robber (4 CA, 3 Offensive CA) who is now being Cautious, spends 1 CA diving over cover. He spends another CA getting up to kneeling and a third to assume a hip-firing stance. His final CA is spent trying to spot a police sniper down the street (>40 hexes). Because he is being cautious, he gains a Spotting CA bonus of +1. This gives him 2 CA of spotting, and he spots the sniper this phase where ordinarily, he would have had to wait until the next phase to spot the sniper –(see Spotting PCSACS (4d) s 5.2). This gives him the effect of 5 CA in a phase.


A combatant will stay at his initial morale state until one of the following events happens:

  • The combatant is wounded
  • The combatant is subject to a near miss from enemy fire
  • The combatant sees his element leader injured.

Wounding: If a combatant is wounded or injured, his morale state immediately drops to Panicked.

Near Miss: If a shot passes within the combant’s Critical Distance (PCSACS (4d) s. 5.6), the combatant will drop 1 morale state if the person is a combat veteran, and 2 morale states if the person is not a combat veteran. A combat veteran is defined as **anyone** who has been in combat.

Example: Our bank robber was barely missed by a police sniper when he was acting Bold, and so this near miss drops the bank robber’s morale state to a lower level. The bank robber has been involved in some gang gunfights in the past, so he is considered a combat veteran, and so his morale state drops only one level–from Bold to Cautious. If the bank robber had no combat experience, then he would have dropped 2 levels–from Bold to Frightened.

Element Leader Incapacitated: An element leader is the highest skilled ally who is a) in command of the combatant, and b) within sight of the combatant. If the element leader is incapacitated, then the combatant immediately drops one morale level.

Example: Our four bank robbers have split into two teams in trying to make their getaway, and are following separate routes through the inner city. In a firefight with the police, the leader of the bank robbers is incapacitated. His companion, who started at a Cautious morale state, sees that his leader is down, and so his morale immediately drops one level to Frightened. The other team of bank robbers, which were out of sight of their leader, is unaffected by his incapacitation.


A person can upgrade their morale level by performing a self-rally as described in PCSACS (4d) s. 5.6, with the following modification. A person can make a self-rally attempt once under cover, and if they succeed, then they raise their morale state up by one level. After their Rally Time in CA, they can attempt to raise their morale up by another level, and so on until their morale returns to bold.

If the combatant fails any self-rally, then their morale state remains frozen at its current level for the rest of the battle, or until a comrade makes a rally attempt as described in PCSACS (4d) s. 5.6. The only difference between a rally and a self-rally for our purposes is that a successful Rally attempt will immediately restore a combatant’s morale state up to Bold.


These rules have seen some playtesting across the internet and the responses that I have received from playtesters has typically been favorable.

One of the suggestions has been the addition of another morale state above the “Bold” state–either something like “Fanatical” or “Enraged,” representing the morale state of people who are hyped up on emotion, adrenaline, and fervor.

For playtesting purposes only, the Fanatic rules are as follows: The effects of a Fanatical Morale state would result in a CA multiplier of 1.25, a spotting bonus of -1, and a DSL bonus of +2 — meaning these people can do more, see less, and be hit much easier.

Fanatics can start a battle in the Fanatical state, and may not be returned to that state if their morale state is reduced over the course of the battle. Roleplaying GMs may choose to allow player characters (or NPCs) to become enraged in the course of roleplaying.

VARIANT (submitted by Fredrik Tegman): Instead of going straight to panicked when hit, a character will drop one level automatically.

If shot is within critical distance the character hasĀ  to make a KV roll, failure means that he/she drops one level. A KV roll also has to be taken if their leader goes down.

We tested your rules before changing them but the characters panicked so fast. With my changes, a battle hardened soldier can continue to fight for quite some time (until hit) even if shots comes within his critical distance.