Estimating army strength

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tire_ak
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Estimating army strength

I've just introduced a succession crisis into my campaign and suddenly find the need to figure out how strong each faction's military is.  Does anyone have a simple method to estimate the gp value of a ruler's army?  Something based solely on population would be ideal. I'd prefer to not go too deep here since this will mostly be off-screen and I can always drill down farther if the players start interacting with this.  

Apologies if this has already been answered elsewhere; I didn't find it in a quick browse.

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

Domains at War provides more detail but as a rule of thumb:

Immediately available - 2gp of troops per family in ruler's domain

Available within a month - 1gp of troops per family in ruler's realm

Available within a season - 2gp of troops per family in ruler's realm

I typically assume that armies have an average cost of 25gp per soldier and use that to calculate army size. That implies that there is a mix of low cost troops (light infantry, heavy infantry) as well as high cost troops (longbowmen, cataphracts, heavy cav).

tire_ak
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Perfect! Thanks for the speedy reply.

koewn
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I'd be curious what mix you were using.

I had been previously looking at it from a matter of "units", and I'd been floating around the idea of the "average unit" being somewhere around 90-100 individuals, meaning a ~16%-25% mix of various cavalry units to various infantry units.

Various horse-heavy/horse-light cultures would have to have their average wages raised and there average unit size lowered, or vice versa.

tire_ak
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For nomadic horsemen I'm using half on foot (25% Light Infantry B, 25% Longbowmen B) and half mounted (20% Horse Archers, 15% Medium Cavalry, and 15% Light Cavalry A). To complicate matters the army as a whole is 75% regular and 25% veteran, but let's ignore the veterans.  The average wage of the foot soldiers is 12 gp, and the average for the cavalry is 40.5 gp, overall average of 29.25 gp per soldier.

The imperial army is 80% foot (10% Light Infantry A, 40% Heavy Infantry A, 20% Veteran Heavy Infantry A, 10% Longbowmen B), and 20% mounted (10% Medium Cavalry, 10% Veteran Cataphracts).  Here the foot soldiers average 15 gp, mounted averages  70.17, and the overall average is $26.03 per soldier. I suspect that the veterans are skewing this a bit.

koewn
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I've been puttering around with Axioms' Wandering Into War and things. Your Imperial troops (ignoring veterancy) have an average individual BR of 0.0341, which quadrupled and multiplied by 4 (if that's right) gets me an average platoon BR of about 4.

I have almost completed expressing the Wandering Into War + Wandering Monster tables into an "expected BR per encounter by hex type" table. There's a 'floor' of around 80/120/200 population by W/B/C hex types, under which ones garrison, on the average, isn't large enough to meet the BR of encounters in the hex - basically, I'm positing there is a 'minimum' garrison spend required per controlled hex, independent of population but dependent on hex type.

I still need to put in the chances for the large migrations. I also would love to figure out how to model the month's attrition on multiple encounters per month, and what that means for garrison replacement - I'm not sure yet how to model, on the average, the outcomes of battles bewteen forces of near-equal BR.

Oddly enough, the forever-lost Sphinx (Unusual, I think), if put in from L&E, has a BR that dwarfs a lot of others (if I have the right one) and taking it out reduces the expected BR by hex by almost a full digit.

 

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

I have almost completed expressing the Wandering Into War + Wandering Monster tables into an "expected BR per encounter by hex type" table. There's a 'floor' of around 80/120/200 population by W/B/C hex types, under which ones garrison, on the average, isn't large enough to meet the BR of encounters in the hex - basically, I'm positing there is a 'minimum' garrison spend required per controlled hex, independent of population but dependent on hex type.


-koewn

Yes. The conceit of the garrison system is that if you have just a small number of families in the hex, they are occupying less than a full hex, and as such would have less frequency of encounters, so the garrison needed is less. But I don't think I modeled that into the encounter system in Axioms... It's late and I don't remember.

koewn
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Right; it doesn't go into the sub-6m hex scale. But, it's not so much the frequency, though, as the amplitude? I'm not necessarily starting a debate; I was taking the system apart as I'm about to "enable" it for my party, and this seemed interesting enough to comment.

 

With Axioms 3, take a Woods domain at 1, 8, and 16 hexes in size; the periodic frequency expecation is every 55, 6, and 3 time periods, be that months, weeks, or days. While one could take the expected BR of a Woods hex encounter (~2.1) and average the expectation of an encounter over a 30 day month, they're each discrete encounter events, and the garrison needs to match that full BR for each one.

The civiilized domain has it a lot easier, in they only expect an encounter every 55/6/3 months; and the effect on the standing garrison is a lot less, whereas the wilderness garrison is getting hit once every 55/6/3 days. The wilderness garrison would either have some cost overhead based on attrition from violent encounters, or, more likely, consume much more of the character's (and henchmen's) time helping out the garrison, which does make a good deal of sense.

Taking tire_ak's Imperial troops; they average $26 per troop, have an averaged individual BR of 0.0341, and an averaged "Troop Size" of 1.2 (so a platoon is 25 averaged troops in size, where troop size 1 == man-sized) - that gives us a full platoon BR of (0.0341*25*4)==3.41.

Assuming I didn't mess that or this next thing up, then, for a starting domain of average starting population, at $26 per individual averaged troop:

Domain Type Avg. Starting Fam Garrison Cost Individ. Troops Platoon BR
Civ 280 560 22 3.0008
Border 105 315 12 1.6368
Wild 35 140 5 0.682

The wilderness and borderland garrisons would need some help. That being said, if we're assuming this was a 9th level character that's just established this domain, that character's effective BR for platoon-scale engagements is probably in the double digits at least, which more than makes up for the size of the garrison. It may indicate the starting domain gets a lot of hand-holding from the character or his/her henchmen during domain encounters. It also kinda supports the old OD&D trope of having the lord of the castle come out and meet a passing party.

All this still ignores domain encounter reaction rolls as well as the lingering/migrating chances, etc; and I haven't yet integrated what NPC party encounters look like on the average, nor the limitations of mindless or animal encounters. Kinda one of those things I dig into when I think about doing ACKS as a computerized world simulation; or I guess just averaging the whole game to "roll 1d6, on 5+ you win".

 

 

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

That's a great assessment. Yes, even if infrequent, the amplitude of some encounters will overpower a small wilderness or even borderlands settlement. That, at least, is "as intended". I definitely wanted the edges of civilization to feel and be "besieged". 

Once your analysis is complete, we will make a storygame version of ACKS which uses a 1d1000 roll with the correct probability of your character becoming 14th level and ruling an empire baked in. Then everyone gets together and rolls, and whoever rolls best recounts how they became emperor. We can compress 60-120 sessions into like 10 minutes and win ENNIE Awards.

Jard
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Once your analysis is complete, we will make a storygame version of ACKS which uses a 1d1000 roll with the correct probability of your character becoming 14th level and ruling an empire baked in. Then everyone gets together and rolls, and whoever rolls best recounts how they became emperor. We can compress 60-120 sessions into like 10 minutes and win ENNIE Awards.


-Alex

What level was the magic-user that cast Transmute Flesh to Salt on you? ☜(゚ヮ゚☜)

Aryxymaraki
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I've been puttering around with Axioms' Wandering Into War and things. Your Imperial troops (ignoring veterancy) have an average individual BR of 0.0341, which quadrupled and multiplied by 4 (if that's right) gets me an average platoon BR of about 4.

I have almost completed expressing the Wandering Into War + Wandering Monster tables into an "expected BR per encounter by hex type" table. There's a 'floor' of around 80/120/200 population by W/B/C hex types, under which ones garrison, on the average, isn't large enough to meet the BR of encounters in the hex - basically, I'm positing there is a 'minimum' garrison spend required per controlled hex, independent of population but dependent on hex type.

I still need to put in the chances for the large migrations. I also would love to figure out how to model the month's attrition on multiple encounters per month, and what that means for garrison replacement - I'm not sure yet how to model, on the average, the outcomes of battles bewteen forces of near-equal BR.

Oddly enough, the forever-lost Sphinx (Unusual, I think), if put in from L&E, has a BR that dwarfs a lot of others (if I have the right one) and taking it out reduces the expected BR by hex by almost a full digit.

 


-koewn

Out of curiosity, what are you doing with humanoid lair encounters for this? Are you just counting the humanoids at a base level, or including the chieftains/shamans/young/etc?

I was working on an average XPV for wilderness encounters by terrain and have noticed that the extra XP from the non-basic enemies is actually very significant. In fact, for the bugbear lair (which is the only one I've completely calculated at the time of this post), the 'extra' XPV is actually greater than the base XPV.

The 68.75 bugbears (average amount appearing) is worth 4468.75 XP, while the extras (1 chieftain, 5.5 sub-chieftains, 13.75 champions, 34.375 female bugbears, 34.375 young, 0.75 shamans, and 0.5 witch doctors) are worth an average added value of 4995 XP collectively.

koewn
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I'm not - I've just taken the platoon BR values out of the table (I have yet to integrate the %% of the monster group being the larger full-wilderness encounter). I don't know how the 'elite' humanoids are counted in the listed BRs; I suspect they either are a) not or b) get swallowed up in the BR totaling, and are just noted as possible targets for heroic forays. (TLDR, haven't done anything with XP as of yet)

And; yea, the extra organizational levels for humanoid monsters do a lot in increasing the value/danger. I suspect there's a pattern in how much 'extra' XP is coming out of leadership with the organized humanoids; maybe reducing as HD goes up - the Farahavar are HD 8/9/11, but there's less of them and no subchief level as they divide into the guidance from L&E for humanoid organizaiton at a much lower encounter group.  Glancing at the Dire Beastmen, however..seems like they might have a bit of a bump, they have a chance at ancillary animals and more unrelated beastmen.

Philosophically I kinda wish the XP value of a monster and the BR value of a monster were able to be mathematically connected.