Domains at War

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Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10
Domains at War

Hello, backers!
Later today we'll be uploading an updated version of Domains at War.
This version does not feature any material changes to the battle system, but it has a considerably expanded selection of rules on raising armies, hiring mercenaries, levying and training conscripts, and so on. It also has rules for invading, occupying, conquering, and sacking enemy domains, and for maintaining armies in supply.
I look forward to your feedback!

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

This has been uploaded.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

Great stuff, from what I've read on my workbreak - the occupying rules are simple but sound (and really appropriate for my campaign setting :)), and the loot/requisition supplies are suitably harsh (especially from what I read about the Routiers in the 100 Years War). As for raising armies - I like the different options (conscripts, militia etc) and how you've integated domain morale into their outlook - the emergent friction and coping strategy from this should be very interesting.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

Just noticed that a couple of the outcomes nect to the Mercenary Loyalty Table on Page 6 (Immediate Attack, Betray) aren't actually on the Table - which uses Hostility and Resignation instead.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Thanks, good catch!

Aldarron
Joined: 2011-08-02 21:17

Notes from a first read through. Most of the chapters seemed fine so most of the notes were things that didn't seem so good to me.
“Our hobby began with a miniature wargame called Chainmail™, written by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren. Although designed to simulate the clash of armies in the middle ages, Chainmail included a short “fantasy supplement” that featured rules for heroes, dragons, and wizards. This fantasy supplement excited the imagination of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, culminating in their development of the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons®.”
<sigh> Well, that myth has been pretty well exploded hasn’t it? If “our hobby” means tabletop Role Playing games, then our hobby, in terms of direct lineage, comes into existence in Wesely’s Braunstein, with honorable mention going to Michael Korns Modern war in miniature, a tactical RPG that both Greg Svenson and Gary Gygax had played. The fantasy RPG that led directly to D&D was Blackmoor, Dave Arneson’s medieval Braunstien. CHAINMAIL’s fantasy supplement was, by all accounts, published about 4 months after Blackmoor play had begun and at least two years after Braunstien was first played (which also would seem to be the reason why Dave developed his own magic system instead of using the ready made system in the Fantasy Supplement). CHAINMAIL was robbed extensively for ideas, and stats but it wasn’t the spark that set fire to fantasy rpgs – for that you would have to look to a monster movie marathon and Arnesons absolute frustration with players arguing over the minutia of historical data in his Napoleonics campaign.
Page 3 “Each unit is representing a battlefield formation with a frontage of 60-ft and a depth of 40-ft.” so I can’t switch my troops from line to column or skirmish or demi-lune etc? hmmm.
Chapter 3 is awesome, great stuff.
Page 17 “Unit Number of Attacks: A Unit’s Number of Attacks is how many attacks it receives per round.” That confused me at first blush. Consider instead “attacks it can make” as the word receives suggests that they may be the ones who are being attacked.
There don’t seem to be any battlefield benefits to entrenching or erecting pickets.
Unit Statistics.
These seem like a lot of mysterious formula. I don’t see why HP are tied to unit frontages or why unit sizes must fit between 12 -100, or why large sized creatures must have a 10 foot front, etc. etc. While I know there must be some reasons for this, not seeing any explanation or reasoning makes it seems very arbitrary and rigid. It also would seem to make it difficult to replicate different historical units of different sizes and organization and impossible to change formation.
For me this was a big speed bump in the rules. Even so, I think there’s a lot of great ideas and I would definitely like to try it out on the tabletop and see how it plays out.

Aldarron
Joined: 2011-08-02 21:17

Oh forgot to mention - I really love all the classical quotes.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

<sigh> Well, that myth has been pretty well exploded hasn’t it? If “our hobby” means tabletop Role Playing games, then our hobby, in terms of direct lineage, comes into existence in Wesely’s Braunstein, with honorable mention going to Michael Korns Modern war in miniature, a tactical RPG that both Greg Svenson and Gary Gygax had played. The fantasy RPG that led directly to D&D was Blackmoor, Dave Arneson’s medieval Braunstien. CHAINMAIL’s fantasy supplement was, by all accounts, published about 4 months after Blackmoor play had begun and at least two years after Braunstien was first played (which also would seem to be the reason why Dave developed his own magic system instead of using the ready made system in the Fantasy Supplement). CHAINMAIL was robbed extensively for ideas, and stats but it wasn’t the spark that set fire to fantasy rpgs – for that you would have to look to a monster movie marathon and Arnesons absolute frustration with players arguing over the minutia of historical data in his Napoleonics campaign.
APM: You are right. It was with no disrespect to DA intended, merely paying homage to CHAINMAIL. I'll re-write.
Page 3 “Each unit is representing a battlefield formation with a frontage of 60-ft and a depth of 40-ft.” so I can’t switch my troops from line to column or skirmish or demi-lune etc? hmmm.
APM: You don't change the formations of troops in DaW, no. We assume that Units are automatically and dynamically be adopting appropriate formations without need to represent this on the battlefield. For example, units can move through narrow 1" gaps (narrower than their stand) because "units are formations of creatures which can move in columns, tighten up their ranks, and so on." Another example is that when heavy infantry move 1/3 of their movement or less, they get +4 AC v. missile fire, because they are assumed to form a shield wall. Another example is that when units equipped with spears remain stationary, they automatically set for charge.
Chapter 3 is awesome, great stuff.
Page 17 “Unit Number of Attacks: A Unit’s Number of Attacks is how many attacks it receives per round.” That confused me at first blush. Consider instead “attacks it can make” as the word receives suggests that they may be the ones who are being attacked.
APM: Good point. I may make that change. I can make that change. Ah, English, your vagaries are delightful.
There don’t seem to be any battlefield benefits to entrenching or erecting pickets.
APM: I treat them as Low Walls. +2 bonus to AC.
Unit Statistics.
These seem like a lot of mysterious formula. I don’t see why HP are tied to unit frontages or why unit sizes must fit between 12 -100, or why large sized creatures must have a 10 foot front, etc. etc. While I know there must be some reasons for this, not seeing any explanation or reasoning makes it seems very arbitrary and rigid. It also would seem to make it difficult to replicate different historical units of different sizes and organization and impossible to change formation.
APM: I'll respond to this in a separate post!

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

"I don’t see why HP are tied to unit frontages or why unit sizes must fit between 12 -100, or why large sized creatures must have a 10 foot front, etc. etc."
I will now attempt to explain the math/mechanics behind Domains at War. First, imagine that one soldier is fighting one soldier using the ACKS rules. ACKS simulates this engagement with each soldier having an attack throw, hit points, and armor class. Let's assume the soldiers have 4 hit points each and do 4 points of damage on average when they hit.
Now, imagine that 12 identical soldiers in a line are fighting 12 identical soldiers in a line. Imagine that the Judge, low on time, decides to simulate the outcome of the fighting by making one roll for all 12 soldiers on each side. If the roll hits, all 12 will be assumed to hit, and one damage roll will be made. This damage will then be applied to each of the 12 foes opposite, which will (on average) kill them. It can be seen that only one set of hit points needs to be tracked, because all the soldiers have the same hp, and if one is hit, all will be hit for the same damage.
Now, imagine that each line of 12 soldiers has a second line of 12 soldiers behind it. If the first line of 12 soldiers is killed, the second line will step forward. If we again assume that the 12 soldiers fight "as one", with one attack roll and one damage roll applied to all their opponents, then it will be seen that the effect of having a second line of soldiers is to increase the effective hit points of the overall formation. If the first line of soldiers is killed, the second line will step forward. But since it's identical, this is the same as the first line having twice as many hit points.
Now, imagine that one line of 12 soldiers is facing one line of 6 soldiers. It can be seen that the assumptions above will hold only if the relative number of attacks and relative number of hit points is adjusted by a factor of 2.
THEREFORE:
Unit Hit Points: A unit has a number of Hit Points equal to the average number of hit points of individual creatures in the unit, multiplied by the unit’s Front x Depth, and divided by 12 (the maximum possible Front), rounded to the nearest whole number.
The first group of soldiers has two lines of 12 soldiers. This is a "frontage" of 12 and a "depth" of 2. The unit's hit points are 4hp (the average of the soldiers) x 12 x 2 / 12 = 8hp. If you recall above, we calculated that the unit should have twice as many hp as our individual soldier.
The second group of soldiers has one line of 6 soldiers. This is a "frontage" of 6 and a "depth" of 1. The unit's hit points are 4hp x 6 x 1 / 12 = 2hp. Recall that above we reasoned that the unit should have half as many hp as our individual soldier.
At this point, one might ask, "why a frontage of 12?" Why not 8, or 10, or 20? The frontage of 12 was selected for several reasons.
1) Historically, formations of 8 deep were common. 12 x 8 = 96, approximately 100. This creates 100-man sized units. 100-man sized units, or thereabouts, were common in the ancient world.
2) 12x5' = 60' = 20 yards = 2 inches. At a traditional 1" = 10 yards, this creates pleasing, 2" sized units to push around the battlefield.
3) Units that are 60' x 40' are large enough that one, and exactly one, formation will be hit by a fireball (40' radius).**
**In late drafting ACKS reduced the fireball to 20' diameter, which might suggest a smaller base formation, but there are other reasons not to adopt this.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Continuing the above:
Unit Number of Attacks: Multiply the average HD-weighted attacks by the unit Front, and divide by 12.
The assumed 12-man formation is also why unit attacks are adjusted by the size of the unit Front. If you have a frontage of less than 12, you are getting fewer attacks off than if you have a frontage of 12.
Unit AOE Modifier: A unit’s AOE Modifier is equal to its Depth x Front divided by 12, rounded to the nearest fraction of a whole number.
The assumed 8x12 formation is why the AOE modifier exists. Since hit points are scaled to the hypothetical 12-man line, a 12x8 unit with 5 ACKS hit points has 40 hit points in Domains at War. If that unit gets hit with an area of effect spell that does, say, 20 ACKS hit points, there needs to be an adjustment to reflect the fact that 20 ACKS hit points applied to a 100-man formation is going to decimate it, as each of the individual soldiers only has 5 hit points.

Aldarron
Joined: 2011-08-02 21:17

Thanks Alex, great explanation. When you wrote "We assume that Units are automatically and dynamically be adopting appropriate formations without need to represent this on the battlefield." I realized I had been reading DoM under the wrong set of assumptions regarding the granularity of the game. So basically DoM is using an abstract AD&D like combat round principle, cast large to cover a group instead of an individual. So then your explanation of how and why the numbers work makes perfect sense.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Exactly! Glad that makes sense.