Sunday, December 3, 2023

Mass Combat: Testing and Adjusting

On Saturday, Steven and I messed around with my new mass combat rule revisions (streamlining the War Machine rules from the Companion Set). Unfortunately, his ADHD got the better of him, as watching his big brother play GTA5 was more interesting than doing a bunch of math and pretending that math was creating armies and having them fight. 

But I pressed on. We made two armies, a Cleric leading a mixed force of men and skeletons with cleric officers, and an army led by a Fire Giant consisting of orcs and hobgoblins with ogre officers. We had them fight a battle, with the clerical army winning, but taking 20% losses and being fatigued. The fire giantish forces lost 50%, were exhausted, and had to retreat. 

Creating the forces (each had a budget of 5000gp) didn't take long, and calculating their battle ratings and resolving the conflict was pretty quick as well. Steven provided some details to the battle based on a few questions from me (terrain, time of day, other conditions), and it was pretty easy to figure out the battle modifiers. Steven selected tactics for the cleric's army, I did for the fire giant army. Then we resolved it with opposed d100 rolls. 

I have a roster of troops, expanded from the Expert Set mercenary costs, to include more humanoid troop types (hobgoblins, gnolls, lizard men, gnomes), and then based on the 2E AD&D Battle System point costs, I made a roster of upkeep costs for monster troops. I added the creatures from the 2E BS book, and some more that I thought would be cool to have in armies, estimating their costs from those given. I had this done before we started, but afterwards, I was thinking that maybe the monster upkeep values were too high for most of them. The point costs for most standard troop types in 2E Battle System are higher than the Expert mercenary upkeep prices, so I decided to cut them down. Most were cut in half, some were reduced more or less, depending on how powerful the monsters might be. 

I also added notes on HD and any special bonuses the troop types would qualify for, such as flying, spellcasting, or special abilities.

Of course, what we did yesterday was just one battle, with no maneuvering, no costs over time to worry about, etc. So I was thinking that we should create a map with various forces, let him create a larger army (maybe 20,000gp) with the new, reduced monster upkeep values, and have him try to fight his way across it. But I didn't have time to do that today. 

What I did have time to do was look over the "Fall of the Black Eagle Barony" scenario at the back of the Companion Set's DM book. It's the tutorial to help players get used to the War Machine rules. What I did have time to do today was figure out the by the book Mentzer War Machine values for each force, and then figure them by my rules. There are a few places where the information doesn't match perfectly (I have changed some factors), but overall, the values are relatively similar across the two systems. Some forces did better in War Machine, some did better in my system, but the values aren't crazily different for any except the "Men of Kelven" force. I may plug the values into SPSS at work tomorrow and see if they're statistically similar or not. 

For anyone curious, the various forces and their values in War Machine and my system are: 

Black Eagle Guard 165:154

Men of Kelven 33:59

Ducal Guard 109:109 (surprised by that one!)

Western Elves 106:123

Eastern Elves 109:118

Thyatian Mercenaries 151:143

The above use the full War Machine rules, the forces below use the "quick BR" system in Mentzer. For the forces below, information on their training times or the presence of mounted troops would increase all their scores in my system.

Gnomes 52:60

Orcs 51:49 (assuming at least half have ranged weapons, no percentage is given, otherwise 39)

Bugbears 54:50 (assuming some have pole arms, something I often arm these creatures with, otherwise 40)

Goblins East 29:27 (assuming a fair number of wolf riders, not listed, otherwise 17)

Goblins Northeast 29:27 (again assuming wolf riders, otherwise 17)

Lycanthropes 75:83

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