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 Dragoons, 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.  If victorious, the attacking Force will move into the Province and all non-allied forces will retreat.

Deploy

The Force will take up a new position in the targeted Province that it can reach this Chapter.  Forces cannot Deploy into enemy-held territory.  If they do, they automatically initiate an Attack against the Enemy for control of the Province, and the enemy Force gains an Edge.

Raid

The Force will Raid the Province where it is located in order to sack a settlement OR to disrupt and claim an enemy Supply Line.

A Raid targeting settlements will target a number of Landmarks spread out over any number of settlements in the Province.  The number of Landmarks that can be targeted is equal to the number of units in the Raiding Force. If a staffed Landmark is Raided, any staffing Population will become unemployed or may be slain if the Raiding Force wishes.  If an unstaffed Landmark is Raided, any Supply stored at the location will be sent back along the attacking Force’s Supply Line and arrive at its home location at the end of the next Chapter and if the Raiding Force wishes, the Landmark will also become a Ruin.  A staffed Landmark may be Raided by two units to accomplish both of the above effects.

If a Supply Line is Raided, any Food, Supply, or Military Supply is claimed by the Raiding Force and Military Supply can be equipped immediately or sent home along their Supply Line.  The Force who has had their Supply Line Raided goes Out of Supply.

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 until the end of the Chapter.

Rally

Restore order in the Force.  Rally removes Despair and Disarray from the Force if it had it, or gives it Inspired 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 gains Fatigued.  This Order also provides either a Deploy, Attack, or Support Order.   

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. Forces equipping new Military Supply from their home location do so instantly, while forces receiving Military Supply through their Supply Line receive it at the beginning of the next Chapter.

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

If this Force is engaged by the enemy, it gains an Edge.  If a Defensive unit is present in a hex, then attackers may not target a unit that is not Defensive. 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.  Levied units in the Force become Fatigued and loses 1 Strength and 1 Fortitude every Chapter it is out of Supply, beginning as soon as Supply is cut.  Units that lose all Fortitude automatically disband.  

Inspired

The Force has excellent morale, and gains +1 Fortitude and Strength.  Inspired 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.  The first Supporting Force joins the battle at the bottom of the Formation, the next from the top, and so on.  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 Fortitude 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.  Forces can’t take any action that would Fatigue them if already Fatigued.

Despair

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

Viking

A Force of Njordic units without the Mounted trait become Viking when they have enough Longboats for all their units.  A Viking Force may move over river and coastal hexes for only 1 Movement point.

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

Archers

Bowyer

Archers

Bowyer

Archers

spears

Spearmen

spears

Spearmen

spears

Spearmen

spears

Spearmen

Bowyer

Archers

spears

Spearmen

Bowyer

Archers

spears

Spearmen

Bowyer

Archers

Rows

Forces can have up to two Rows.  Units in the Back Row act as reserves for the Unit ahead of them, sliding forward to replace them if that Unit falls.  Units with the Ranged or Opportunist traits are able to attack from the Back Row.  

Using both Rows is optional.

spears
spears
spears
spears
Bowyer
spears
Bowyer
spears
Bowyer
spears
spears
spears
spears
Bowyer
spears
Bowyer
spears
Bowyer

Fortifications add a special Row in front of the first.  These are usually Walls that were already present in the area.  The Defender in a battle can automatically make use of any Fortifications when they are attacked. 

 

spears
spears
defensive-wall
spears
Bowyer
defensive-wall
spears
Bowyer
defensive-wall
spears
spears
defensive-wall
spears
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Bowyer
spears
Bowyer
spears
Bowyer

Fortifications act just like any other Row of Units, except that Fortifications do not slide if some are destroyed.

If there are not enough walls to protect all of a force’s Units, the remainder are outside of the Fortifications. 

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 Fortitude, 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.

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.

Chaos of Battle

Roll Result        Bonus

2-3                 -2

4-5                  -1

6-8                 0

9-10               +1

11-12               +2

The Units are set side by side, centered each Force’s middle Units.

Each row of Units attacks the one across from it simultaneously, doing it’s Strength in damage to the other Unit’s Fortitude.  

If the Unit runs out of Fortitude, it enters the Fleeing state and moves to a special Row behind the battle.  Fleeing units no longer fight but might still take additional damage.  Every unit can suffer additional damage equal to their Commander’s Morale before being Destroyed and removed from the Battle.  

Fleeing

Back Row

Front Row

spears
spears
spears
Bowyer
spears
Bowyer
spears

Remaining Units will slide first forward (if they were behind the Unit that fell), then upwards or downwards toward the center point of the battle to take the place of the fallen Unit.   If they haven’t been able to make any attack yet this round, sliding units will do immediately.

After that, a new round of simultaneous attacks begins.  If a Unit never has an enemy Unit across from it, it can’t attack anything unless it has a special ability to do so. 

When one Force’s has no Units that remain fighting, Units with the RangedFlanking or OpportunistFleeing Units traits may make one additional attack on the nearest Fleeing Unit.   All Units that are not Destroyed successfully flee the battle.

The losing Force Routes, it gains the Despair and Disarray statuses.   Any Units that were Destroyed are removed from the Force.  Fleeing Units regroup and remain in the Force.

The defeated Force or Forces retreats to an adjacent unoccupied province or a Province occupied by a friendly force, at the discretion of the Force’s Commander.  If a Force has no way to flee through a friendly Province, the entire Force is annihilated.  The victorious Force gains Battle Experience and becomes Inspired.

If a Commander sends forces that are levied, press-ganged or enslaved to their deaths, the Commander gains Mortal Vanity.  Warriors who serve Warlords do so willingly, so losing a battle is not cause for sin (though the enslaving of Thralls or Jharad remains Mortal Vanity). 

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: 3
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, Fortitude

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 1 Strength
 
 
 

Summer Heat

Heavy Units lose 1 Strength.

Winter Cold

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

Levying and Supply

Units are levied from the local population by the Rulership.  When the Ruler or the Marshal calls the Levy, population from the local region become soldiers of the appropriate Culture.  Social class and home location are also noted in case the unit is ever disbanded. Expending Military Supply alongside this Levy can create soldiers of different types.  If Military Supply is acquired later, either through plunder or production, it can be used with the Reorganize Force Order to change the type of soldiers.  Likewise, the Reorganize Force order can be used to remove Military Supply from given soldiers to use elsewhere.  A Warlord’s Forces do not change types when adding Supply – see their section for details.

(Read more about Warlords)

All Levied Forces in the Theater need a constant supply of Food in order to keep from being Out of Supply.  Each Military Unit needs 1 unit of Food in order to stay fit.  These are sent along the Supply Line through the most direct path to a given Force by the use of the Quartermaster Landmark.    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.

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 Food or other Military Supply are captured by the enemy, and the Force they were bound for goes Out of Supply.

Loot and Plunder

Military Forces can perform the Raid action in order to destroy enemy emplacements, often enriching themselves in the process.  When a Battle occurs, the a Charnel Field remains behind full of twisted corpses and rusting armor.  These sites can be rich with the grim harvest of war, but also tend to attract corpsers, ghosts, hags, and necromancers who make ghastly use of the place as well.  If a Labor Downtime Action is spent at a Charnel Field, some of the equipment can be stolen from the corpses.  Labor can also be spent to bury the dead in a mass grave and remove the Charnel Field.  The Mithrihim Ritual Battlefield Ceremonies can also be used to bury the dead with their equipment and forgive the sins of the Commander who sent the soldiers to their deaths.  Charnel Fields that are not buried eventually find their way into becoming other sorts of problems – often rising again as wandering armies of the dead.

Forces can also take Supply from the Raid action.  Raiding an enemy Supply Line, once located, captures any materiel that was being transported along that line – usually Food, but also any additional Supply or Military Supply such as Military Weapons or Military Armor that is being transported along during that Chapter because of a Reorganize Force Order. 

As well, a Raiding Force can raid a settlement. A Raid targeting settlements will target a number of Landmarks spread out over any number of settlements in the Province.  The number of Landmarks that can be targeted is equal to the number of units in the Raiding Force. If a staffed Landmark is Raided, any staffing Population will become unemployed or slain if the Raiding Force wishes.  If an unstaffed Landmark is Raided, any Supply stored at the location will be sent back along the attacking Force’s Supply Line and arrive at its home location at the end of the next Chapter and if the Raiding Force wishes, the Landmark will also become a Ruin.  A staffed Landmark may be Raided by two units to accomplish both of the above effects.

If a Supply Line is Raided, any Food, Supply, or Military Supply is claimed by the Raiding Force and Military Supply can be equipped immediately or sent home along their Supply Line.  The Force who has had their Supply Line Raided goes Out of Supply.

Longboats are a special kind of Military Supply available to Njordic units.  Longboats are produced at a Viking Shipyard and may be added to Njordic, non-Mounted units in a Force present in their hex without a Reorganize Order.  If every unit in a Force has Longboats, the Force gains the Viking Status.  If the Force moves out of a river or coastal hex, they leave the Longboats behind in the last valid hex.  Abandoned longboats may be discovered by Scouting and may be claimed and used by any Force who knows about them and is present in their hex without a Reorganize Order.

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 issue Support Orders targeting them 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, and habitually camp prepared to strike.  Stationary Dunnick Forces are always considered Lying in Wait, and they may still survey nearby provinces.

Cultural Unit:  Tacksmen

Hestralian

Hot-headed Hestralian soldiers automatically treat Deploy orders as if they were an Attack Order for 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.  They gain an Edge during Winter.
 

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 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

All Forces send outriders 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.
Details on the Key Landmarks of Populated Sttelements
The location and size of Forces that are not Unseen within 1 Province of the Force.

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