Domains at War

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susan_brindle
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Domains at War

Would anyone else be interested in playing a few rounds of Domains at War? I've had a few very limited experiences with Battles in my games and as practice, and I haven't touched Campaigns. I'd love to work with someone to set up some scenarios and then play them out to get a feel for the game more, so that I don't start an RPG and realize about five months in that on closer inspection, nothing in the setting really quite works the way I'd like it to. (E.g. "I wanted to have it be fluff that a nation worked like THIS, but the way iniative works, that's actually either terrible and impossible or, if I houserule it in, wildly overpowered. Also, I accidentally made an island nation with no navy because I didn't realize you have to budget for that seperately.")

If I recall correctly, D@W is such that you don't need to make any decisions while it isn't your turn, so it'd work fairly well for play-by-post, just taking a screencap of the battle after each turn. I've got a semi-workable setup on Roll20 now, too.

Ideally, I'd like to get a point where I feel really comfortable houseruling D@W and expanding it a bit, but I don't want to start that until I'm out of the stage where I'm still ending each battle with "and here's a list of things we were confused about that have answers in the rulebook that we just missed"

bobloblah
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I'd be very interested in this, as I'm in a similar situation as you.

koewn
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A play-by-email/post via Roll20 would probably work pretty well, all things considered; independent dice rolling logs, plenty of ways to mark units, etc.

Off the top of my head, the only things I can think of that are out-of-band is the withdraw of loose units to reduce damage, and reaction attacks?

jedavis
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The defender can also usually choose the path of a retreat of a unit that fails morale.

I'm interested in this (for much the same reasons as Susan, namely that my intuition for DaW:B is not yet strong enough to houserule with confidence or run without piledrivers). I've been thinking about writing a DaW:B server for a while now; maybe I'll work on that over the holidays.

koewn
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I've been thinking about writing a DaW:B server for a while now; maybe I'll work on that over the holidays.

-jedavis

That sounds interesting. As a standalone process, or piggybacking on something existing? (Roll20 APIs, etc)

jedavis
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Hmm... I was planning to go full gameserver with an independent client and a protocol suitable to play by AIs (and King of the Hill DaW tournaments / teaching neural networks to crush my poor players), but roll20 API is also a good idea. I should probably learn javascript anyway...

koewn
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Hmm... I was planning to go full gameserver with an independent client and a protocol suitable to play by AIs (and King of the Hill DaW tournaments / teaching neural networks to crush my poor players), but roll20 API is also a good idea. I should probably learn javascript anyway...

-jedavis

Gracious. Far be it from me to limit your scope, though. :)

 

bobloblah
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And Heroic Forays. Why would the other two present problems? The attacker would simply need to announce/email, then wait for the non-phasing player to respond, no? I've only toyed with Roll20, so maybe I'm missing something.

 

EDIT: Wait... There is no equivalent of Heroic Forays in Battles, is there? Needless to say, I've only run battles with units, and the system in Campaigns.

koewn
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Sure. It's not necessarily a problem, just an extra wait step inbetween turns for feedback.

Play-by-post wise, I think formatting it like old wargame orders or chess moves would be interesting, one could state what they did in the Roll20 interface then announce end-of-turn or attention-required.

  • Orc Infantry A
    • Charge; Hex D5 > Hex E7
      • Attack, Human Light Cav B; hit (18), 1 damage

ATTN: Human Light Cav B; May WIthdraw

or whatever. Just a touch of structure would go a long way, and would eliminate any surprises in not noticing something changed in the battlefield if you're looking at day+ delays between action. It helped way back when I was toying around with it early on in kickstarter:

http://crowbarandbrick.blogspot.com/2013/05/autarchs-domains-at-war-batt...

Multiple commanders working would be interesting to see too, or, given the freedom of an electronic interface, a multi-force battle, 3 or more unaligned armies.

 

bobloblah
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I like the way you think! Plus, a three-way game would let both of us play with susan_brindle, and work out how that would be handled.

EDIT: OH GOOD LORD! I just re-read this and realised how far down my own throat I just jammed my foot! I am so sorry if I offended anyone! I've edited the above for clarity.

susan_brindle
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Cool! Would you be more interested in doing one of the two premade battles or setting up something custom? I'm happy to play with as many people as possible, although as in all things, at some point logistics become an issue ;P

 

I'd be very, very grateful if one of our tech-wizards set about designing a terrain randomizer.

 

 

jedavis
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If you're just looking for a webpage with a 6-mile hex terrain dropdown, a generate button, and output of a set of terrain features that need placed on a map, I should be able to get that put together by saturday evening (very conservatively) depending on how my holiday travel goes.

Ed: Well I Scotty's Law'd that one pretty hard ("Always tell the captain it's going to take 50% longer than you think it's actually going to take"). It's up at http://jedavis.me:5000/terrain/

bobloblah
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"I can na' change the laws o' physics, Cap'n!"

                                                         - Scotty

Nice.

 

koewn
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The existing scenarios probably have a lower barrier to entry than perhaps trying to work up something custom at the start.

Terrain generation with a textual output wouldn't be too hard; graphical output or placing it automatically in Roll20 would be a bit more challenging.

bobloblah
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I'd love to run through the basic scenarios again...but I might change my mind part way through, depending on how long they take in this format. I'm guessing we'd all like to eventually test something a bit more representative of where we'd like to take it, no?

susan_brindle
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Well, the one example scenario is very basic, but the epic one actually makes use of almost all the rules, since it includes heroes with items and a wizard. The only thing it doesn't have is nonhuman units. Obviously at some point then we have to have the battle of the Necromancer Prince vs the Free Monster Alliance to test all the monstrous units, with particular emphasis on how high-undead armies can work.

 

I'll rig up the basic battles in Roll20 over the next couple days.

Rodriguez
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Sounds interesting!

I always thought that Roll20 would be a good way of playing D@W:B. I played a few games of the most basic scenario but wouldnt mind playing that one again, still have not figured out how to win against the beastmen...

susan_brindle
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Alright, go ahead and join the game officially.

https://app.roll20.net/join/475292/RfBhpw

The current map should be the setup for the epic battle, as that's what I found out I already had all the resources for almost preloaded. If guys would like to try the smaller battle first, that'll be pretty quick to whip up. You'll notice that I used the little colored dots roll20 has to mark divisions, so you know which archers belong in Menna's Joint and which ones are the Autarch's. The little icons represent the heroes and unnamed lieutenants; feel free to alter them as you see fit. The way they are is just leftovers from the first time we did this.

I've placed one half of the map in Fog of War, under the assumption that I'm going to play the barbarian side, because as mapmaker I get first dibs. Whoever wants to pick up the other side is welcome to.

 

EDIT: oops I forgot there's a terrain stage of setup! I guess just whoever wants to, draw some terrain on the map.

Jard
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any chance of regular updates/screenshots being posted somewhere for people who just want to lurk and observe?  It might also be possible to just follow that link and peek, but I wasn't sure.

susan_brindle
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You can peek! I'll also be taking screenshots regularly once we get started.
 

susan_brindle
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Alright! I rolled random terrain and arranged my army. Whoever wants to play the opposing side, volunteer, and set up your forces at your leisure. Also, remember you get a certain number of lieutenants; I suggest marking units with flags if they have a lieutenant.

 

I thought about using the pre-established terrain, but eh. Let's roll on charts!

CharlesDM
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I've used VASSAL for play-by-post (of ASL : Advanced Squad Leader) extensively. VASSAL is built for virtual tabletop and PbP, although I've never tried VASSAL VTT. Logs are exchanged via e-mail for PbP. There is an automated logging facility, which logs movement, dice rolls, LOS checks and text entered (which is used both for resolving game mechanics and general discussion). For ASL, VASSAL has existing hex maps as well as overlays, not unlike D@W.

I've not used any of the RPG VTT. How do they support PbP? Is anyone here familiar with both VASSAL (or similar) and Roll20 (or similar)?

I'd love to play a lot more D@W as well, and PbP could be a "leisurely" way to play.

koewn
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I've done Roll20 a decent amount. It's workable.

That VASSAL though, that looks really intriguing for this - the list of already created modules is impressive, and I can't see that D@W:B wouldn't be able to be covered by that.

I am somewhat taken aback this is the first time I've heard of it.

susan_brindle
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Oh yeaaaaaaaah Vassal exists! That'd make much more sense than roll20. You'd just have to create a module for it. I played the 40k tabletop a bit with it and yeah, very well made. I imagine it'd be a huge timesink up front to make it compatible.

 

Anyway the map is all set up now so I'm just waiting on ya'll to set up the opposing army.

bobloblah
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Yeah, sorry...I've been way busier this weekend with Christmas preparations than I expected...

susan_brindle
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*I* meanwhile am less busy because it's christmas so I've been sitting here refreshing and tapping my foot

bobloblah
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Oops! Now you're waiting for me again, seeing as I wont the roll-off for tied Initiative. I've never seen someone roll that many 1's in a row!

susan_brindle
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So! Blobloblah has joined the battle as the Auran forces and deployed his troops. Here's how it looks right now: He's the southern forces, where I'm attacking from the north.

I've chosen to deploy Baal and Peymann in Phalanxes. Since they were already veteran heavy infantry, this makes them super-heavies, and destroying their units outright should prove nearly impossible. It also reduces the number of units I have, which is good, because moving units costs points! Most of my commanders have lower leadership and strategic values than I'd like relative to the number of units they're supposed to be commanding.

I also have fiewer lieutenants, so that sucks. Also, upon closer inspection, I've deployed only three of them! I'll drop the last one now, on my cavalry, because obviously cavalry are important.

 

http://imgur.com/KhXjyAu

The black arrows represent my predictions for the battle. His general starts in a cavalry unit, which is both a blessing and a curse. Cavalry are extremely powerful, and having a high-quality commander ensures that that unit will be effective. He's also stacked lieutenants on it, meaning that he'll always be able to active all of them, even if they take hits. Thus, it's obvious that he's going to want to use Royal Squad as early as possible, and since cavalry go fast, having them flank is a natural choice.

Meanwhile, he's just sort of dumped all of his non-horse units in the middle, and with that lake there, they're more or less forced to move straight forward and be the anvil to his horse-hammer.

 

On my end, I have essentially the exact same layout, except that my commander will be in the center, and I've assigned one division to outflank around the lake. *My* cavalry commander is Jagtai, the peerless barbarian. He's equipped with a sweet bow, the precise shot proficiency, and Eyes of the Eagle, which grants him the ability to target heroes at twice the normal range. Unfortunately, at this scale, that means I have a range of TWO hexes, (Unless mounted heroes count as Large?) meaning there can be exactly one hex between us. So he'll have to get in close. Once he does though, WYVERN POISON ARROWS! BAM! Admittedly, this poison is an unmodifier throw, so if I'm targetting Tarkaun, he survives on a 6+. On the other hand, a 25% chance of insta-death per hit is nothing to scoff at. Also, while we're here, he's got 15 AC. Jagtai's THACO is -2. So Jagtai only hits on a 13+. Or maybe an 11+, if he uses his +2 arrows? Do magic arrows stack with magic bow? I assume they do, because otherwise why mention that he has both?

So a 50% chance to hit and a 25% chance for each hit to kill; that's an average of eight attacks. And in brigade scale, heroes get three extra initiative passes. That's four attacks per round. If I can get Jagtai close to Tarkaun, I'm looking very good. If somehow Jagtai closes on Mennic, the fragile wizard, he'll hit on a 4+ and instagib if he rolls 6 or less. Even without the poison, mennic only has 44 hp, so 1d6+6 won't take many shots.

 

WOW that was a lot of numbers let's get back to strategy. So yeah. Jagtai kills people. Jagtai's horses are lined up with the general's horses. My anvil is smaller than theirs, but more muscular and compact, like corned beef. I also have a second hammer. Flanking is extremely potent in Domains at War because it not only grants a bonus to hit, but also imposes a penalty on shock rolls, making it much more likely to break troops, so I think that second hammer is going to help me a lot. If I use the lake to my advantage, having a smaller anvil won't hurt me much. If I screw up, my general is going to easily be surrounded and cut to pieces. Fun! I'm very excited.

bobloblah
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Clearly you actually put thought into your deployment. Maybe I should have done the same?

jedavis
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I really enjoyed your terrain descriptions.

bobloblah
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The descriptions were pretty good, but I have to say I preferred the artistry of the previous layout.

bobloblah
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Speaking of Initiative, seeing as I have it, would you mind if I cast some pre-battle spells? Obviously there's some potential advantage, but I already had something in mind, and just rediscovered that some things need to be cast in advance at this scale (I'm only now reading my Commanders in detail...oops).

susan_brindle
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By all means, go ahead!

susan_brindle
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It is begun.

bobloblah
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Sort of...other than indecision, changing my mind, and delaying!

;-D

susan_brindle
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First turn: Blobloblobah has chosen to delay, and I don't see any harm in letting him have it, so I've moved all my forces up along the lines I drew earlier. Now it's his turn to move his entire army. I'm not too concerned. I'll post a picture and a more in depth update when he does something.

bobloblah
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Don't rush me, man!

susan_brindle
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So, I scooted up a little.

Then, in response, Bloblo HUSTLED his light cavalry directly adjacent to me. I'm unclear to what end. He also charges his medium cavalry to one side of the rocky terrain, and positions his Autarch between them, for a neat trident effect now that I draw it out.

He also shuffles the rest of his units forward, and then makes the decision to seperate Mennic from his unit! I have no idea what that's about. Presumably, he hopes to utilize his spellcasting ability with greater mobility, but I feel like I'm just going to kill him more easily this way. We'll see.

http://imgur.com/QaG88JG

Unfortunately, the dice HATE me, and he gets to go first! So now his too-far-up units are actually very well poised to strike, maybe. I don't know. We'll see what he does. I'd discuss my plans for a counterattack, but he's listening, watching.

 

 

bobloblah
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I am EVERYWHERE!

...just like the placement of my units.

koewn
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That's always messy when terrain gets up at the edges like that, but everyone's bowmen are well-placed to work around that in your main lines. 

Pushing up the cavalry up against yours probably wasn't a bad idea - keeps you from coming in and harassing his heavy infantry as they seem to work their away around that forest, and his heavy cav is placed to be able to hopefully decide later where to go depending on how the LC fares.

I wouldn't be surprised if he does the same with the LI on the right flank angling off there - make you waste turns getting your HI/LI through them.

Timing looks pretty bad on that HI coming around the forest, vis-a-vis engaging with the line on the right of it.

I really like spectating this, I'm highly amused.

 

 

 

susan_brindle
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The thing about pushing his cavalry up like that though is that he's made it immediately a story about our horses fighting, except that HIS horses are so close that they're within range of my infantry, which means he risks having them focus fired and wiped off the map.  I think it's very dangerous to throw your most valuable asset in that deep without any backup.

Alex
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This is amazing! It's like a live stream of generalship.

bobloblah
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I would comment, but my enemy has many spies...

bobloblah
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Man! I can't believe how much time I spend waiting on susan_brindle! (Tongue planted firmly in cheek.)

susan_brindle
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If a unit has, for example, three hoof attacks at +8, does that number include the +2 from charging? It'd make sense for it to, since hoof attacks are made exclusively while charging, but it'd also make sense not to include it just for consistency that all attacks on a charge are at +2 above printed values.

Alex
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No, it doesn't. For consistency, all attacks are always listed as their base (unmodified) attack throw. Warhorses are 2+ HD monsters so their base attack throw is 8+.

susan_brindle
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If two commanders roll equal initiative, and have equal strategic scores, you determine who goes first randomly. Should the determination be made when init is rolled, or do you wait until their turn starts? This is actually very important as it determines whether you can plan on going first or not.

koewn
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I'd do it at time of initiative determination, as it's a part of that process.

Alex
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You do it during the initiative phase, immediately.

bobloblah
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Yeah, we forgot and did it when we got to that point in the Initiative order. As that was my last Division Commander, it didn't really change anything.

susan_brindle
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Thanks for the clarifications!

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