Military Battles

Warfare

 All of Mankind’s myriad gifts are bent to one pursuit, that pursuit which has given us so much, and taken from us so much.  Of all Man’s terrible powers, of all its great endeavors, it is war that is our one true art.

~Count Ferril Baines, Lion Age 561

War is inevitable, even in the Throne where ostensibly all mankind is one.  During these conflicts, mighty forges produce massive shipments of armaments, huge trains of food are rallied and great hosts are put to field.  The following systems are used to adjudicate these massive conflicts, which take place between game sessions at the direction of orders that in game commanders give to their soldiers and captains in the field.

Warfare is the domain of the mighty – nobles, knight orders, and other great powers that have built their wealth and authority on force of arms.  However, there are others on the field.  Heretical armies of the risen dead, the dreaded Warriors of Kuarl who make whole armies look weak by reflection, the savage Orc, raiders and warlords from foreign lands, and of course, other great powers who vie for control over the same resources.

Military Organizations have the ability to train, equip and levy forces and bring them into local theaters to do battle for their own purposes.  When the forces arrive, they may be given formal Orders to take various kinds of military actions and postures in the local Theater, such as move to a Province and defend it from attackers, attack another army, or take over a city.  Each so-called Force, a large army of soldiers, is made up of individual Units, squadrons of soldiers, sometimes with special roles like Archers, Heavy Infantry or Light Cavalry, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.  Commanders, the characters giving out the Orders, use all of these factors together to achieve their military objectives.

Giving Orders

During the the of the Forum when the Event takes place, runners and adjuncts for military Commanders are in the city, ready to run orders back to their Commander’s forces to be carried out for the next Chapter.  Military Orders must be submitted by the end of the Event in order to be counted.  The Orders that are given represent more complex sets of logistical instructions and a great deal of tactical nuance, and some Commanders are better leaders than others.  The Commander’s levels of the Morale Skill affects how many Orders that they are able to give in a single Chapter – 1 Order per Level of Morale.
 
The following Orders are able to be given by any Commander.

Attack

The Force will attempt to initiate Battle with the indicated Force, if it can reach it.

Deploy

The Force will take up a new position in the targeted Province that it can reach this Chapter.

Raid

The Force will Raid the targeted Province in order to disrupt and claim enemy supply, and to sack a City. 

 Fortify

The Force will construct one Fortification on the Province and gain the Fatigue status. 

Garrison

The Force will station at a field Command Post and gain its special advantage, taking the Garrisoned status.

Support
The Force will come to the aid of another specific Force within range, gaining the Supporting <Force> Status.

Rally

Restore order in the Force.  Rally removes Despair from the Force if it had it, or gives it Hope if it did not.
 

Lay Ambush

The Force will prepare an ambush at a tactically advantageous position.  The Force gains the Lying in Wait status.

Defend

The Force will prepare for imminent attack, gaining the Defensive status.  This lasts for the Chapter or until another Order is given. 

Forced March

The Force becomes Fast, but will be Fatigued for the remainder of the Chapter. 

Last Stand

The Force is prepared to give it’s all and die for the objective, gaining the Last Stand status.

Reorganize Force

The Force can be reconfigured into a new Formation, equip new Military Supply, split into different Forces or combine with another.  Forces can be transferred to another Commander who is part of the same Military Organization.

Orders and Phases

Commanders can give multiple Orders, but these Orders are resolved in Phases, which occur over the long weeks of the Chapter between Events.  Every Commander’s First Order is resolved simultaneously during the First Phase.  Then every Commander’s Second Order during the Second Phase, and so on.  Commanders with Higher Morale’s Orders occupy Phases that occur and resolve before later Phases.  In other words, a Commander with 2 Morale would have their first Order resolve in the Fourth Phase of the entire Chapter, and their second Order resolve in the fifth and final Phase of the Chapter.

Force Statuses

Statuses give various effects, positive and negative, to a Force that can affect their military outcomes.

Defensive

The Force may take advantage of any Fortifications in the Province, and if engaged by the enemy, gains an Edge.  This status ends if the Force takes other Orders, or at the end of the Chapter.
  

Fast

The Force doubles its Movement for one Phase.
 

Unseen

The Force is invisible to other Commanders and Forces unless revealed by a Scout.
 

Lying in Wait

The Force gains Unseen, and can no longer surveil their Province.  If an enemy Forces moves within their Province, they immediately Ambush.  During an Ambush, the attacking force gains an Edge, and gets one round of free attacks on the enemy Force before they can respond.  During this special round, all Light Units double their Strength
If a force Lying in Wait is attacked first, the attacker gains an Edge.  Lying in Wait ends after its first battle or if given a different order.
 

Out of Supply

The Force has lost contact with its Supply Line and lacks needed food and equipment.  The Force is Fatigued and loses 1 Strength and 1 Resilience every Chapter it is out of Supply, beginning as soon as Supply is cut.  Units that lose all Resilience automatically disband.  

Hope

The Force has excellent morale, and gains +1 Resilience and Strength.  Hope ends if the Force gets Despair, or at the end of the Chapter.

Last Stand

The Force automatically gains Advantage in their next battle, but if they lose, the Force is annihilated.  This status ends after one battle or at the end of the Chapter.

Disarray 

The Force loses any remaining Orders or Statuses from Orders, usually from being defeated in battle.  This ends at the end of the Chapter.

Supporting

If the targeted Force enters a Battle, whether attacking or defending, this Force will spend Movement to join the battle as well at the bottom of their Formation.  The Supporting Force does not gain any effects from victory but still can suffer the consequences of defeat.  
 

Garrisoned

The Force is stationed at a Command Post, and gains a special advantage specific to the Specialist Commander that is in command there. 
 

Fatigued

Fatigued forces are ill prepared to fight.  They lose half their Resilience and Strength, rounded up, and Forces that attack them gain an Edge.  Fatigue ends at the end of the Chapter unless something is maintaining it, such as being Out of Supply.

Despair

The Force’s morale is shattered, losing 2 Resilience for each Unit.  Units that lose all their Resilience this way disband.

Forces, Units and Formations

Forces are made up of Units which are arrayed in a specific Formation, as determined by the Commander.

A Force may have 3 Archers and 3 Spearmen.   The two examples below indicate two possible formations that such a Force could take.  When a Battle occurs, the Formation will play a large role in the outcome.  Different Units’ special abilities will make certain kinds of Formations more advantageous to them, and the Commander will also want to think about how best to counter their enemy’s Formation.  Formations can be any positions that the Commander chooses, and they can be changed later with a Reorganize Force Order.  

(Read more about different types of Military Units)

Bowyer

Archer

Bowyer

Archer

Bowyer

Archer

spears

Spearmen

spears

Spearmen

spears

Spearmen

spears

Spearmen

Bowyer

Archer

spears

Spearmen

Bowyer

Archer

spears

Spearmen

Bowyer

Archer

Battle

Battle occurs whenever one Force attacks another.  Some factors give a Force a special advantage called an Edge.  Whichever Force has the greater number of Edges has Advantage during the Battle, or the actual field battle between the two Forces.  Advantage means that every Unit in that Force gains a +2 Strength bonus, and some Units get a special ability whenever they have Advantage.

Other Factors may play into bonuses and penalties as well, including the weather and terrain.  For instance, during Winter, Light Infantry are cold and have less Resilience, and on Plains, Cavalry Units have additional Strength.

Finally and ultimately, even for the finest Commanders, chaos rules the battlefield.  A random factor called the Chaos of Battle is rolled in the form of 2 six-sided dice, applying Strength bonuses or penalties to each side.  Chaos of Battle is re-rolled each round of the Battle.

Chaos of Battle

Roll Result        Bonus

2-3                 -2

4-5                  -1

6-8                 0

9-10               +1

11-12               +2

A Commander may elect to personally oversee the battle of their Forces using the Wage War Downtime Action.  If the Commander takes this action, their presence and direct command on the field gives a bonus to the Chaos of Battle roll equal to their Morale Skill.  However, the Commander is subject to Risk, and may be injured, maimed, or even killed in the fighting, especially if their Force loses the battle.

The Units are set side by side, and each row of Units attacks the one across from it simultaneously, doing it’s Strength in damage to the other Unit’s Resilience.  If the Unit runs out of Resilience, it falls back and leaves the Battle.  Any remaining Units will slide upward to fill gaps in the Formation, and another round of simultaneous attacks begins.  If a Unit has no enemy Unit across from it, it can’t attack anything unless it has a special ability to do so. 

When one Force runs out of Units, the battle is over.  The losing Force Routes, it gains the Despair and Disarray statuses, and 1 Unit at random is killed.  It flees back through a Friendly Province along its supply line, or else in a random friendly Province if it cannot do so.  If a Force has no way to flee through a friendly Province, the entire Force is annihilated.  The victorious Force gains Battle Experience and Hope.

Logistics and Strategy

The outcome of a battle is often determined long before the first attack.  Managing all of the strategic factors of Warfare is difficult, and many factors influence the results.  As mentioned above, various Status effects may cause crippling disadvantages to troops, or vastly change the outcome of battles.  A Commander that can take advantage of all of the different factors that go into Warfare would be a nearly unstoppable force, even with meager Units, but likewise, attacking these infrastructural points so carefully managed is a viable strategy for similar reasons.

The following are some additional factors that influence a battlefield.

 

Terrain

Plains

Movement Cost: 1
Cavalry gain 2 Strength
Unable to Declare Ambush.

Hills

Movement Cost: 1
Skirmishers gain 1 Strength
Unable to Declare Ambush.
 

Swamp

Movement Cost: 2
Cavalry lose 2 Strength
Heavy Units lose 2 Strength

Forest

Movement Cost: 2
Cavalry lose 1 Strength
Ranged Units lose 1 Strength 

Mountains

Movement Cost: 5
Cavalry lose all Strength
Ambushes grant an additional Edge.
Skirmishers gain 2 Strength, 1 Resilience

Water

Movement Cost: 1
Only naval forces can move and fight on water

Season

Spring Rains

Units with Black Powder lose all Strength
Cavalry lose 1 Strength
Ranged units lose 1 Strength

Autumn Wind

Ranged Units lose 2 Strength
 
 
 

Summer Heat

Heavy Units lose 2 Strength.

Winter Cold

Forces in Mountains are Defeat, and passes close.  Armies may not Levy.
Light Units lose 1 Strength
All Units reduce Movement to 1

Levying and Supply

Units have to be Levied from territories that are under the control of the Commander or their Military Organization.  This usually, but not always, comes in the form of a Noble family and the lands that they rule in fealty to the Emperor.

A Military Organization uses Requisition Points to summon, equip and train the soldiers and their support staff using Military Support Agents.  Once the Levy is ordered, those Units arrive as a single Force at the entrance to the Theater during the next Event.  All Forces in the Theater need a constant supply of Rations in order to keep from being Out of Supply.  Each Military Unit needs 1 unit Rations in order to stay fit.  These are sent along the Supply Line through the most direct path to a given Force.    Forces do not need these supplies the first Chapter that they arrive, but do need them every Chapter thereafter that they remain in the field.  For this reason, many Commanders favor fewer, higher quality Units over giant mobs of hungry novices.  Forces that disband due to lack of Supply usually become a rogue army and raid to get food or express their discontent.

Forces may be sent home to their original homes by sending them a dismissal order, causing the Force to disband and return.  This may become necessary to conserve food, or to send important forces home to help relieve a Military Crisis in the homeland.  Doing so removes them from the Theater, returns their Requisition to their home City and provides a temporary bonus to their home city’s Military Defense.

Supply Lines are Unseen, but if located, can be Raided by enemy Forces.  If this happens, any goods that were traveling along that Supply Line, such as Rations or other Military Supply are captured by the enemy, and the Force they were bound for goes Out of Supply.

 

Cultural Advantages

Not every Commander is the same.  There are many military theories and doctrines, and these take advantage of different aspects of warfare and emphasize different kinds of tactics and strategies.  This doesn’t only apply to the Commanders, but to the rank and file soldiers as well.  Cities within a specific cultural region are able to levy additional Military Units.  The details of the Cultural Units are addressed under Military Units.  

Gothic

Gothic commanders are used to taking command of combined forces in war, and thus other Commanders may perform Support Orders for free.  

Cultural Unit:  Flamberges or Zealot (Pontifical Gottreich)

Rogalian

Rogalian Commanders are famed as some of the finest strategic thinkers in the Throne, able to perform complicated maneuvers with ease that other Commanders would require weeks to plan.  Rogalian Commanders deliver the Reorganize Force Order for free at any time, without consuming any Orders.  

Cultural Unit:  Longbowmen

Dunnick

Dunnick Commanders are used to fighting larger, slower armies using guerrilla tactics. Ambush attacks gain an additional Edge.

Cultural Unit:  Gallowglasses

Hestralian

All Deploy Orders act as an Attack Order upon any enemy Force they come across, even without being otherwise aware of the unit (excluding Unseen Forces) 

Cultural Unit:  Marines

Njordic

Snow is no impediment to Njordic Commanders, and they may Levy forces during Winter Season.
 

Cultural Unit:  Væringjar

Capacian

Capacian Commanders crush their foes with overwhelming maneuverability.  If the Commander’s Force has more cavalry than their opponent, they gain an Edge.

Cultural Unit:  Cuirassier

Shariqyn

Shariqyn Holdings take much longer to levy than normal, taking 2 Events before finally arriving by ship, furthermore their forces within the Throne may be considered to be hostile by local authorities.  However, Shariqyn Commanders are used to unrelenting obedience, as their forces are often composed of slave soldiers, they treat their Morale Skill as if it were one higher when giving Orders, which can exceed 5.  
 

Cultural Unit:  Fedayeen

Surveillance and Scouting

All Forces send outriders and other scouts in order to keep watch on enemy positions, and they will send this basic information back to their Commander during Forum so that the Commander can make informed decisions.

Surveillance reports include the following Information:

The Force’s current disposition and location, a report of what they experienced during the previous Chapter.
The location and size of Forces that are not Unseen within 1 Province of the Force.

For more detailed information, such as the presence of Unseen Forces, Supply Lines, Points of Interest in a Province, and the Formation and Units in an enemy Force, a Scout is required.  Scouts are characters with the Vigilance Skill that journey out to survey a Province in person as a Downtime Action, gathering the above Information.  

The Scout’s Vigilance is compared to the Force Commander’s Morale.  If the Scout has superior or equal Vigilance, they successfully complete the mission, otherwise they cannot get close enough to scout the defenses without getting captured or killed by enemy patrols.   Scouting is often dangerous, and the character is subject to Risk when taking that action.

For more information about Military Units, their specific advantages, and how they perform in battle, see Military Units.